Many adults are consumed by a constant go-go-go mentality. Between maintaining a full-time job, preparing healthy meals, dedicating a few evenings a week to the gym and finding time to socialize, you may begin to wonder where relaxation fits into the mix. All too often, this crucial element of well-being doesn’t make the cut on your list of things to do. As such, many people are swamped with feelings of anxiety and stress.
While it’s normal to be concerned or nervous about certain things, like a job interview or when you’re running late, you shouldn’t feel like this all the time. Confusing anxiety with normalcy can lead to the condition manifesting in other ways, such as the ones listed below. Here are five signs you may be too stressed:
1. You get frequent headaches or experience muscle tension
Do you find yourself constantly reaching for pain relievers? According to the Mayo Clinic, headaches and muscle tension are common side effects of stress. If you experience these symptoms frequently, it may be a sign that you’re too overwhelmed. Of course, recurrent headaches can be related to other serious health concerns. Speak with your doctor about what you’re experiencing if relaxation techniques don’t help this chronic condition.
“Sleep deprivation can make stress worse.”
2. You can’t sleep at night
When you lay your head on your pillow, all those worries you’ve pushed to the back of your mind during the day seem to surface once again. Thinking about what you need to get done tomorrow is enough to keep anyone awake. A major problem with this common symptom of stress is that it elicits an endless cycle. Sleep deprivation can make stress worse, and anxiety can make it difficult to fall asleep.
3. You have trouble focusing
Perhaps your productivity has decreased at work or you seem to easily lose your train of thought during conversations. Your worried mind may make it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand. Focusing issues related to stress can quickly turn daily activities into something dangerous. For example, if your mind wanders somewhere other than the road while you’re driving, you may put yourself at a higher risk for a collision. If you find it difficult to focus, it’s important to determine if this mental lapse is a result of your high stress level.
4. You experience unusual angry outbursts
Everyone has days when they’re a little on edge. However, if you’re really stressed, you may be more prone to this issue. Stressful moments trigger the body’s “fight-or-flight” response, which involves a faster heartbeat and higher blood pressure, according to The American Institute of Stress. Those are the same physiological changes that occur when you’re angry, too. Plus, sleep deprivation and constant headaches would make anyone grumpy.
5. You’re plagued by stomach pain
Many people with stress also suffer from gastrointestinal issues, which may involve constipation or diarrhea, according to the AIS. That fight-or-flight response can trigger changes in your digestive system, which can ultimately affect the frequency of bowel movements. Additionally, many people cope with stress through food, either by avoiding meals or overeating, both of which can cause stomach pain.
How a massage can help
If you have experienced any of these stress warning signs, you may benefit from a massage. The Mayo Clinic listed relief from anxiety, digestive issues, headaches and stress-related insomnia as some of the many benefits of massage therapy. Schedule an appointment with a professional or use a personal massager for everyday relief. Use the device on tense muscles to relieve soreness or simply give yourself a relaxing back massage. Whatever you do, just be sure you make time to unwind in your busy schedule.