Whether it’s work, school, personal, or generally feeling overwhelmed — all of us have experienced stress in our lives. While some stress is unavoidable and can even be helpful in certain situations, being overly stressed is damaging to your overall wellbeing. Too many people are chronically and overly stressed, which significantly affects both physical and mental health.

Here are some symptoms of being overly stressed that you should look out for and some ideas on how to improve them.

There are many ways that you can manage your stress better so that your health is not compromised.

A common symptom of being overly stressed is having trouble sleeping. Even if you feel exhausted, it might still take you ages to fall asleep. If you find yourself waking up multiple times throughout the night and having restless sleep, it could be due to stress.

Muscle tension is another common symptom of stress.

This tension is commonly in the jaw, as many people clench their jaw in their sleep when they’re feeling stressed. However, stress can cause muscle aches and pains anywhere in the body.

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Stress also increases blood pressure, which is especially dangerous if you are already at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

If you’re feeling overly stressed, you might also develop digestive issues. Stress can cause flare-ups and inflammation in the digestive system. This can cause stomach cramping, constipation, bloating, and overall discomfort.

Stress commonly presents emotional symptoms, such as exhaustion, irritability, anxiety, and even depression.

If you start to notice that you’re not feeling like your usual self and your mood has been low, it might be a sign to slow down and relax. Emotional symptoms of stress are just as damaging to your wellbeing as the physical signs.

There are healthier ways that you can cope with stressful situations.

Breathing exercises are beneficial because you have to take slow, deep breaths. This not only takes your mind off of the stressful situation by shifting your focus to your breathing, but it also physically calms your body down and takes you out of that fight or flight state.

Exercise also does wonders to reduce stress, both in the body and mentally.

If you have muscle tension due to stress, exercising and, in particular, stretching can help your body relax and release that stress. Exercising also lowers the stress hormones in the body and releases endorphins, which are chemicals that elevate your mood. Find workouts that you enjoy doing, and remember that it doesn’t have to be strenuous. You can dance, take a walk with friends, or lift weights — whatever makes you happy.

Remember to prioritize yourself and clear some space in your schedule for “me time.”

No matter how busy life gets, it’s not worth feeling burnt out and overly stressed. Find a book you like to read, spend time with your family, practice self-care by taking a bubble bath or get some fresh air.

In the end, this will help your productivity levels as well because you will have more motivation and energy to complete your tasks. 

Want to give food journaling a try?

Journaling can help you keep track of what you eat and live healthier. Click here to download our free 7-Day Food Journal to get started.

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