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Recognize Subtle Signs of Critical Stress

By Sandy Schroeder

Most of us know when the heat is turned up and we are under major pressure, but sometimes the signs of stress go unnoticed and need to be spotted to be solved.

WellAndGood.com explored this problem and came up with key signs of stress that we might be missing. 

Clinical psychologists say stress can sneak up on us because we are mired in an ongoing situation. Or we may be in denial which means our health could be impacted as symptoms simply go unnoticed. If you suspect your body is trying to talk to you about stress, take a look at these signs to see if they fit.

Key Symptoms of Stress

Your weight is going up or down - The stress hormone, cortisol can radically change your appetite. Within a year my weight went up 20 pounds as I struggled with an impossible work situation. When I faced it, and took action my appetite calmed down and I lost the extra weight. If you are heavier or thinner, stress may be calling the shots.

You are grinding your teeth while you sleep - As the body relaxes at night stress may race through your mind causing your jaw muscles to tighten and triggering teeth grinding, which can hurt your jaw, cause headaches or damage tooth enamel.

Your stomach is upset - Stress can result in excess stomach acid which may cause heartburn, stomach pain or diarrhea. It can also lead to a great deal of lost sleep.

You are on alert all night - When stress gets a grip on you, sleep may be a very fitful situation, as you find it hard to fall asleep and keep waking up. Finding ways to relax right before bedtime and working on the issues can make a big difference.

Stress clouds memory - The stress hormone cortisol can seriously compromise your brain, jumbling details together and turning a sharp memory into a questionable one. As your mind zeroes in on the stressful situation, other details may simply fade into the background. 

Weird dreams haunt you - Often the brain desperately wants to resolve the stress and will take the form of dreams of flight or fright, using symbols to deal with the key issues. You may dream of endless running, losing your wallet, or fighting wild animals as your brain tries to cope with a loss of normality.

You are lashing out at everyone - When I am really stressed I can see the reactions on the faces around me. They go quiet and neutral, or offer distractions to calm everything down. Family and friends who know you well may know you are super stressed before you do. 

Recognizing stress for what it is and what it can do is important for your health and the well-being of everyone around you. Watch for the signs and work on solutions to find real answers.

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

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