The Importance of Dealing with Stress
As a lifestyle and nutrition coach, I have seen many people that did not actually do anything wrong nutrition and exercise wise, but still suffered from chronic disease, weight management problems, mood swings, chronic pains, headache or increased frustration and emotional disconnection from their loved ones and family.
Looking deeper into their lifestyle, very often the cause of their unhappiness and troubles was chronic stress and how they did manage it.
Unfortunately very often, people (especially men) would not admit that they are chronically stressed, seeing it as a sign of weakness, and therefore would not seek help in form of coaching or consulting. What has in many cases not just put pressure on their professional success, but even more importantly, on relationships with spouses, children and personal social networks.
Stress management is a skill like any professional education, that has to be learned and practiced to perfect it.
What happens when you are chronic stressed and can’t manage it.
When you feel stressed, your body ramps up production of the stress hormones cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine.
This triggers the start of the stress response, and, like a snowball rolling down a mountain, it gains traction and speed until you’re ready for the proverbial attack.
Adrenaline, for instance, increases your heart rate, causing your heart to beat faster and ultimately raising blood pressure. Cortisol can interfere with the function of the inner lining of your blood vessels, triggering plaque buildup in your arteries, and increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Meanwhile, you brain communicates with your gut, sending the news that you’re stressed, and your gut responds in suit, altering what it would normally be doing so your body can collectively work to fight off this imminent stressor (whether it’s really an imminent stressor or not).
This stress response can be quite beneficial if you need to run from a predator, or even quickly cram for a big exam. Things get messy, however, when you feel stressed all or most of the time. While an occasional stress response is normal and even healthy, ongoing, constant stress is not. On the contrary, it’s the recipe for sickness, from chronic diseases to acute infections.
50 common signs and symptoms of stress
1. Frequent headaches, jaw clenching or pain2. Gritting, grinding teeth
3. Stuttering or stammering
4. Tremors, trembling of lips, hands
5. Neck ache, back pain, muscle spasms
6. Light headedness, faintness, dizziness
7. Ringing, buzzing or “popping sounds
8. Frequent blushing, sweating
9. Cold or sweaty hands, feet
10. Dry mouth, problems swallowing
11. Frequent colds, infections, herpes sores
12. Rashes, itching, hives, “goose bumps”
13. Unexplained or frequent “allergy” attacks
14. Heartburn, stomach pain, nausea
15. Excess belching, flatulence
16. Constipation, diarrhea, loss of control
17. Difficulty breathing, frequent sighing
18. Sudden attacks of life threatening panic
19. Chest pain, palpitations, rapid pulse
20. Frequent urination
21. Diminished sexual desire or performance
22. Excess anxiety, worry, guilt, nervousness
23. Increased anger, frustration, hostility
24. Depression, frequent or wild mood swings
25. Increased or decreased appetite
26. Insomnia, nightmares, disturbing dreams
27. Difficulty concentrating, racing thoughts
28. Trouble learning new information
29. Forgetfulness, disorganization, confusion
30. Difficulty in making decisions
31. Feeling overloaded or overwhelmed
32. Frequent crying spells or suicidal thoughts
33. Feelings of loneliness or worthlessness
34. Little interest in appearance, punctuality
35. Nervous habits, fidgeting, feet tapping
36. Increased frustration, irritability, edginess
37. Overreaction to petty annoyances
38. Increased number of minor accidents
39. Obsessive or compulsive behavior
40. Reduced work efficiency or productivity
41. Lies or excuses to cover up poor work
42. Rapid or mumbled speech
43. Excessive defensiveness or suspiciousness
44. Problems in communication, sharing
45. Social withdrawal and isolation
46. Constant tiredness, weakness, fatigue
47. Frequent use of over-the-counter drugs
48. Weight gain or loss without diet
49. Increased smoking, alcohol or drug use
50. Excessive gambling or impulse buying