If there’s anything we can all relate to these days, it’s the fact that pretty much everyone is dealing with symptoms of stress. From headaches that never seem to go away to a general sense of frustration or unease, the symptoms of stress run a pretty large gamut.
Often we don’t even realize quite how stressed we are, figuring that we probably just worked too hard that day or didn’t get enough sleep. While those things may also be true, stress isn’t something you just have to put up with; there are no awards for working through it, only to be faced with another stressful day tomorrow.
Learn how to recognize the symptoms, accept them for what they are, and consider the ways you can manage it, one day at a time.
What is Stress?
Let’s start by recognizing what stress is: the reaction of the body to a perceived threat or challenge, anything that upsets the balance or presents a barrier. You surely know the expression “fight or flight,” which is essentially the binary of human reactions to stressful situations. We try to fight it or we run away. When we’re stressed, the body experiences a multitude of effects in the moment: increased heart rate, quickened breath, tightened muscles.
In our modern life, where we rarely have to actually fight to protect ourselves, the physical effects of stress can manifest in even more spiraling ways – we’ll get into those below. The other thing about stress is that, as with most human experiences, everyone has different stressors. Some people are better able to handle stress on the job, others have no problem confronting drama among friends.
Our bodies are actually equipped to handle stress, when it comes in small doses. Reacting quickly in a traffic situation, for example, can make a massive difference. Feeling stressed at work might also end up empowering you to rise to the challenge of your task or, on the flipside, finally seek out a new job. But long-term stress will have consequences and can wreak havoc on your personal life.
Physical Symptoms of Stress
- Persistent headaches
- Upset stomach and nausea
- Low energy
- Insomnia and sleep problems
- Tense muscles
- General aches and pains
- Rapid heartbeat
- Lack of interest in sex
- Dry mouth
- Clenched jaw
- Grinding teeth
Emotional Symptoms of Stress
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Difficulty relaxing
- Agitation and frustration
- Moodiness and mood swings
- Low self-esteem
- Low self-worth
- Difficulty discussing your feelings with others
Mental Symptoms of Stress
- Inability to stop worrying
- Forgetting things
- Racing thoughts
- Persistent pessimism
- Difficulty focusing
In addition to all the bodily symptoms of stress, you might experience changes in your behavior, too. Are you suddenly procrastinating way more than usual? Are you skipping meals or overindulging? Do you find yourself reaching for that bottle of wine every other night instead of only on the weekends? All of these, especially if you’re suddenly experiencing them much more often than usual, can potentially be chalked up as symptoms of stress.
How to Deal With Symptoms of Stress
So now we’ve identified many of the most common symptoms of stress. We’ve all experienced probably everything on this list at some point; it becomes an issue that needs to be handled when these symptoms are regular parts of everyday life. But they don’t have to be! As easy as it is to become stressed, especially in our fast-paced modern world, treating the majority of these symptoms can be fairly simple, too. (Keep in mind that as with any chronic condition, you should always consult with your doctor if symptoms are severe. You should also check with your doctor before adding new supplements or nutritional products to your wellness routine.)
A major way to combat the symptoms of stress is through lifestyle changes related to nutrition, sleep, and exercise. A nutritionally balanced diet supports a healthy immune system, which in turn gives your body more support to help ease your reactions to stressful situations.
Lack of quality sleep is well-known to have immediate negative effects on hormones, physical performance, and cognitive function – all of which will make stress feel even more, well, stressful. Better sleep will reverse the situation, improving performance and cognition alike. (We think about sleep a lot, so you might want to check out our top 6 tips on how to sleep better and how to fix your sleep schedule in 4 simple steps.)
Lastly, it always seems to come back to exercise, doesn’t it? But research shows time and time again that regular exercise is good for you in so many ways, including improving your mood, boosting your energy, and promoting better sleep. The thing about exercise is that you have to find something you enjoy doing – even going for a simple walk every morning counts! Find what you love, stick to it, and feel the stress start to melt away.
Meditation & Breathwork
While this is a lifestyle change too, we wanted to hone in on the specific stress-relieving benefits of meditation, breathwork, and other forms of wellness that intersect with mindfulness, particularly because one of the most common symptoms of stress is racing thoughts. Meditation is the practice of using techniques to train your attention, achieve a mentally clear state, and promote calmness and serenity – a great, natural way to combat those racing thoughts. Focus on deep breaths and remember that nothing changes overnight. Meditation and mindfulness, as any other form of exercise, take a certain amount of commitment to feel the effects.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that CBD is another natural way to potentially alleviate the symptoms of stress. With CBD’s newfound popularity, research will be ongoing for years to come to better understand its effects, but several studies suggest that CBD may have positive effects on those dealing with stress. Other conditions that seem to benefit from CBD include chronic pain, anxiety, and insomnia – all of which tend to be connected to stress in one way or another.
Thanks to the way that CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, it may be able to provide a greater sense of calmness and well-being, borne out by numerous anecdotal experiences. Try CBD Day Gummies for Focus for a morning dose, Anytime CBD Gummies for when you feel stress coming on, and CBD Night Gummies or CBD Oil for Sleep at bedtime, especially if poor sleep is one of your major stress symptoms. If you prefer your CBD in oil form, CBD Oil is another option you can take at any time, easily dropped into your morning coffee or evening tea. If persistent headaches or aches and pains count among your symptoms, try topicals like the CBD Relief Roller or CBD Fitness Cream.
From more tips for natural ways to deal with the symptoms of stress to the latest news about ongoing research into CBD, head to our blog for all things wellness. You’ll find the answers to whether or not you can use CBD for muscle pain, if CBD is good for focus, and even more. Learn more about our favorite compound in our CBD 101 guide and check out our product quiz if you need some help figuring out your ideal form of CBD.