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What to Do When Stress Signals You

By Sandy Schroeder

Most of us live with some stress, but when stress levels soar and the body sends strong signals, it's time to find some good answers to avoid chronic stress and protect overall health. 

Doctors say there are physical signs of stress that need to be spotted and promptly handled. Here are some of the major ones to watch for. 

Anxious new habits - When stress builds, you may find yourself pulling your hair, biting your nails or rubbing your eyes. These habits may expand during the day as the tension refuses to go away. 

Sleep is interrupted - You may be exhausted at night and drop right off, but wake up later. When it is 3 a.m. and your mind is racing and your heart is pounding, stress is compromising your health as sleep is lost. In the morning you may feel as though you have not slept at all. That can lead to confused thinking and a weak focus as you struggle through the day. 

An unhappy digestive system - When stress takes over, you may experience nausea, bloating, and irregularity. Normal eating and digestive habits suffer and the body pays the price. 

Aches and pain spread - As tension builds you may develop more headaches, clench your jaw or experience ongoing back pain. You may wake up with a stiff neck or sore shoulders that get worse as the day goes on. 

How to Regain Your Footing

Watch for stress signals such as a headache or stomach pain and take steps right away to regain your balance. Find ways to let the tension go. 

Try deep breathing - Move from shallow stressed breathing to a more relaxed state. Step away whenever you feel stress building. Sit quietly with your eyes closed and inhale to the count of five. Then exhale and slowly let the tension go. As the day goes on, take a deep breath whenever you need one.  

Get outside as much as you can - Begin the morning with coffee on the patio. Take morning and afternoon breaks outside to sit and read, talk with a friend, or stretch a little. 

Take short walks or do a quick run - Put stress to rest with an early morning walk or a quick run after a long day. The more you move the better you will feel. 

Laugh a little or a lot  - Call a funny friend or watch a favorite old movie that makes you laugh. Laughter can relax the body and ease the mind to help you regain your balance. 

Wherever you are with stress, it's important to recognize the physical symptoms and respond with ways to let the tension go. If stress seems to becoming chronic, call your doctor and consider working with a therapist to find ways to work through the issues. 

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Atlanta, Ga.

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