Stress

Stress is what you feel when you react to pressure. Many things can cause stress, such as work, relationships, health issues, death, divorce or moving. Stress is a normal reaction and is caused by your body's instinct to protect itself.

Stress can sometimes cause health problems or make them worse. Knowing how your body shows stress can be the first step in making a stress-related problem better. Here are some possible signs of stress:

  • Anxiety or worry
  • Back pain
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Depression or sadness
  • Feeling very tired
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Problems sleeping
  • Problems with relationships
  • Hard time breathing
  • Stiff neck or jaw
  • Stomach pain
  • Weight gain or loss

When feeling stressed, some people develop habits to help them relax. The most common habits include cigarette smoking, drinking, unhealthy eating and inactivity, which can harm your health.

Eating or drinking too much, or smoking, do not help your stress level and can damage your health. Stress has been linked to heart disease, cancer, depression and suicide. Some ways to manage stress include:

  • Exercise is one of the healthiest ways to deal with stress. Whether you like to play volleyball after work or walk during your lunch hour, the act of moving your body is a great way to improve your mood and relieve stress.
  • Talking or writing about your feelings is another good way to relieve stress. You can talk to family members, relatives or a trained therapist. You can also write your feelings in a journal.
  • Get away from you. While a nice long vacation is often a good stress reliever, most people can also benefit from a hobby. Spend time doing something that you like to take your mind off of stress.
  • Relax. Activities such as yoga, meditation, listening to music and breathing exercises can help calm your mind and relax your body.

Source: The American Heart Association