#4. Difficulty calming down and sitting still
If you’re not able to sit still for longer periods of time, whether it is being alone with your thoughts, taking a walk by yourself or sit in your doctor’s waiting room (without constantly checking your phone), this might be a sign that you’re overstressed. When anxiety is constant and overwhelming, the ability of the mind to relax is reduced and it can create somewhat of a protective barrier between you and the disturbing thoughts.
Unfortunately, there is no other way to reduce this type of tension than making an effort to discover what exactly is causing you to avoid being still and properly addressing it. If you don’t do this and the stress doesn’t go away, all those emotions or thoughts you’re avoiding will get pushed further and further down and ultimately cause you bigger problems. It’s your responsibility to find constructive ways to manage your fears and nobody else can do it for you. Make room for introspection by creating a quiet space and asking yourself deep and honest questions, while making sure to remove any judgmental or catastrophic thinking from the process. If you stick with this long enough, you will probably find out that your troubles aren’t as big as you first thought and that there are many potential solutions.
#5. Mood swings and lack of patience
When we have too much on our plate for a long period of time, we eventually break down. Moods wings, i.e. rapid changes in one’s emotional state, are one of the most common symptom of elevates levels of stress. Sometimes moods swings occur as a result of a physical or mental health condition, but more often they seem to happen for no apparent reason. At least that’s what it looks like. Everybody will probably experience a certain degree of general moodiness at some points of their life, but stress-induced mood swings can be severe and drastic and have a substantial negative effect on health and daily function. What’s maybe worse, mood instability is often an important source of reoccurring conflict between the individual and his/her environment and loved ones.
Chronic stress is terribly tiring – more often than not, people are simply unable to handle it anymore and unable to contain their discomfort. In such cases, even the slightest hint of stress overwhelms them and they immediately become overly emotional and irritable. The end result? Lack of patience and tolerance with others and frequent snapping at the people who are closest to you. If such behavior lasts for extended periods of time, your personal relationships can suffer great damage. To avoid this, start tracking your moods and try to understand exactly what causes the shifts and changes in emotions. Write your feelings down and try to discover the pattern and potential triggers, then find ways to neutralize them. Change won’t come overnight, but it’s crucial to take the first step and practice tolerance. Once in a while, remember to slow down and just smell the roses!
#6. Hair loss
Research suggests that there is a strong link between stress and changes in hair follicle biochemistry. Hair loss can be one of the ways the body responds to severe physiological or psychological stress. Short-term, everyday stress won’t affect your body in such a way that your hair starts to fall out. However, when we’re exposed to significant or lasting stress (divorce, death, serious financial worries) or big hormonal changes (such as during menopause or the post-pregnancy period), this may spark a change in our body’s routine physiological functions and cause temporary or even permanent hair loss.
According to most dermatologists, the two most common problems for hair loss or telogen effluvium (change in the number of hair follicles growing hair) are chronic stress and diet deficiency. Over time, chronic stress can gradually exert a noticeable negative effect on hair growth and even lead to persistent telogen effluvium. However, hair loss is never the only symptom of being overstressed, so it is very rare for it to occur if your anxiety isn’t severe. To determine whether your hair loss is related to stress, visit your doctor who will examine your general health and detect the problem.
#7. Reduced libido
When you’re distracted by periods of high pressure, reduced sexual desire can be one of the first problems you encounter. This is because chronic stress interferes with your body’s hormone levels and impairs your ability to relax, let go and enjoy yourself. First of all, some of the hormones that are secreted when you’re under stress are also responsible for sexual response. In addition, during times of stress, your arteries can narrow and restrict blood flow, resulting with erectile dysfunction. The psychological aspect of stress makes the situation even harder – stress causes exhaustion and diminishes your ability to experience intimacy. When you’re constantly preoccupied with your problems, sex can be the last thing you think of at the end of a long day.
One recent study in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease suggests that regardless of the quality of the relationship, your general levels of stress can have a major direct effect on your sexual life. Unfortunately, more often than not, people do not address their stress-related loss of libido because they’re either too ashamed to acknowledge it to themselves and their partners or they assume that something else is the reason for their lack of sex drive. Regardless of that, prolonged libido issues can pose a serious threat to any loving relationship, especially if there’s a lack of communication about these matters between the two partners. Don’t be afraid to open up and express your fears to your loved one – by being honest and admitting your anxiety, vulnerability or confusion during the period, you can actually free yourself at least a bit from its power over you. Ask your partner for understanding and patience and work on the problem together. Everybody needs support now and then and there’s nothing shameful about that.