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Our Bodies and Stress

Recognizing stress and physical symptoms

Our Bodies and Stress

Stress is not just a mental experience. Stress affects our physical being as well. Our bodies respond to stress sometimes more obviously than we may be aware of or ready to accept. Our minds and our bodies are not separate and distinct entities. They are fully connected.

We can be stressed about our health and experience symptoms of anxiety such as worrying, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping, or loss or increase in appetite. These are symptoms that are more recognizable.

Anxiety and stress also show up in a variety of physical symptoms. Many people suffer from headaches from stressful situations. Other physical symptoms that present from emotional stress include neck pain, shoulder pain, chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath and hyperventilation, stomach aches, nausea and vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea. The list seems endless.

We often go to our doctors or emergency rooms for relief of our symptoms and are often prescribed any number of medications from pain relief to laxatives or gas relief. We should consult with our doctors for these symptoms especially those that can signal a serious problem such as chest pain. Some physical symptoms as listed above may be the first signs that we are experiencing stress in our lives. Identifying that possibility may be more rewarding than simply suffering from and treating these physically ailments directly. Learning and practicing ways to destress, relax, and cope with stress may be just what we need.

Awareness of what is stressful in our lives is a first step. We can make changes in our lives for some things that are making our lives challenging. A simple schedule change can make a big difference. Meditation and yoga are popular activities to focus and relax our bodies. Starting even a limited exercise program can also be beneficial. Eating healthier can make a big improvement. A healthy diet can make our bodies more resilient to stress.

Our bodies and our minds are connected. We can impact our physical health by being aware of stress in our lives and by taking action to address it.

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