September 12, 2021 |Gideon Hanekom

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Are you stressed out? Everybody has periods of stress from time to time, such as when they are delayed in traffic or have a difficult day at work. However, for some people, stress can develop into a major problem. This post dives into 6 specific physical symptoms of stress to be aware of and what to do about it.

If you expose yourself to an excessive amount of chronic stress, you significantly increase your chance of developing a variety of health problems. Indeed, scientists assert that stress is causally linked to a number of the leading causes of early mortality.

The good news is that you may begin reducing stress in a variety of ways, from exercising to altering your routine.

However, before you begin, it’s critical to firstly know more about the realities of the impact that stress can have on our bodies and health, and secondly, know what physical signs of stress to look out for. Then it’s important to implement effective strategies to deal with the stressors of life.

Stress and Your Body: Facts

There are some very frightening statistics concerning the toll stress has on the body. When these facts are considered, it’s difficult to dispute that we all need to improve our ability to manage our stress more efficiently.

physical symptoms of stress

According to, several of these facts include the following:

  • Stress has a detrimental influence on the health of 43% of all people.
  • Between 75% and 90% of all healthcare-related visits are for stress-related illnesses and complaints.
  • Stress can contribute to headaches, hypertension, heart issues, diabetes, skin disorders, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, and anxiety.
  • Stress has been identified as a workplace danger by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Each year, stress costs the American economy more than $300 billion.
  • The lifetime prevalence of an emotional illness is greater than 50%, frequently as a result of untreated chronic stress responses.

So, as you can see, stress is no laughing matter and can have a massive cost on both a personal and global level.

That alone is all the more incentive to begin controlling your personal stress levels actively today.

Seven Physiological Effects of Stress

Stress is classified into two types.

“Good” stress is often referred to as eustress that can have benefits.

“Bad” stress is referred to as chronic stress or anguish.

At first, chronic stress has a slow effect on your health; in fact, you may not detect any physical symptoms at all!

But if it’s not handled, the physical symptoms of stress will only worsen and the effects may become permanent.

There are often seven common ways in which stress may show in your body:


When people are stressed, it is quite usual for them to develop depression, in that stress can cause depression according to some research.

There are only a limited number of chemicals in the brain that may assist a person in dealing with stress, and once they are depleted, they are depleted.

This can result in an individual being deeply sad in what appears to be a short amount of time.


Stressed individuals are more prone to experience uncontrolled levels of anxiety.

Anxiety and depression also frequently coexist, which can result in a variety of alterations in the body’s physiological functioning.

Cardiovascular illness.

Stress is strongly connected with heart attacks and mortality from cardiovascular disease. When stress is not controlled, the body swiftly deteriorates and the heart is frequently severely damaged.


Type 2 diabetes is one of the world’s fastest-growing diseases, and both mental and physical stress can result in rapid blood sugar swings.

Now, according to, diabetes is not caused by stress alone.

However, there is some evidence that stress may be associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Experts hypothesise that elevated amounts of stress hormones may impair the function of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, therefore reducing the quantity of insulin produced.

This, in turn, may have a role in the development of type 2 diabetes.

Long-term consequences of Type 2 diabetes include heart disease, blindness, liver issues, and renal illness, among others.

Hair thinning.

When our friends and family members begin to lose hair, we often ridicule them, but this can be a sign of uncontrolled stress.

Whether your hair is falling out prematurely, don’t blame genetics; instead, examine whether stress might be a possible cause and review your approach to managing stress in your life and see if there are possible connections.

According to, the following hair loss symptoms may be related to elevated stress levels:

  • Telogen effluvium. Telogen effluvium occurs when severe stress induces the resting phase of a large number of hair follicles. Within a few months, damaged hairs may fall out spontaneously when combed or washed.
  • Trichotillomania. Trichotillomania is an uncontrollable impulse to pluck hair from the scalp, brows or other parts of the body. Hair pulling can be used to cope with unpleasant or negative emotions such as stress, anxiety, loneliness, boredom, or irritation.
  • Alopecia areata. Alopecia areata is considered to be caused by a multitude of causes, including extreme stress. Alopecia areata occurs when the immune system assaults the hair follicles, resulting in hair loss.


It has long been hypothesised that long-term stress and obesity are related. Chronic stress can result in “comfort eating,” which frequently entails consuming meals heavy in fat, sugar, and calories, which can result in weight gain.

We frequently deal with stress through the consumption of unhealthy, fatty meals which usually leads to increased body fat and weight gain.

Additionally, stress impairs the regulation of essential molecules for fat breakdown, which can result in obesity.

Sexual impotence.

Stress is one of the most often cited causes of impotence in males.

Although over 20% of men in the United States suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED), the connection between stress, anxiety, and sexual health is rarely discussed.

Psychological inputs enable the body to have an erection at the right time, for example during intercourse.

However, mental distractions, like stress, impair that ability.

“Anything that might cause anxiety can impair one’s capacity to have an erection,” explains Dr Berglund, a urologist at Cleveland Clinic’s Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute.

Daily stresses, mental health problems, and performance anxiety all fall under this category.

So, as you can see, stress may have a variety of negative effects on your body, health, mental wellbeing, and even relationship satisfaction.

Moreover, the above is by no means an exhaustive list of the ways in which stress can impact your life as a whole.

It is, therefore, important to become aware of any signs of possible “bad” stress in your life so that you can respond to it promptly and effectively before it causes irreversible harm in some part of your life.

In the next section, we’ll look at a few common but important physical signs of stress you need to pay attention to when they show up.

Now, please, don’t think that these are always a sign of stress.

They can indicate numerous things.

But, they can serve as clues for you to pay attention to.

Keep An Eye Out for The Following Warning Flags And Physical Symptoms of Stress

Pain in the teeth or jaw.

Yes, stress has a greater effect on your teeth than you would believe.

So, if you’re experiencing stiffness in your jaw or pain in your gums, this might be one of the physical symptoms of stress that you’re experiencing.

It could also just be a sign of tooth decay or gum disease, but stress is also a possibility.

For example, grinding your teeth is frequently something you are unaware of until you visit the dentist and are chastised for symptoms of bruxism. It’s usually only then that we become aware of the tension we’ve been experiencing.

Therefore, if you do have discomfort in your jaw, consult your dentist to have things checked and to discuss what might be going on.

Your memory is deteriorating.

As your life grows more hectic and you have more things to consider each day, it’s only natural to shrug aside any difficulties you might have with forgetfulness.

However, if your memory has been truly failing you recently, and for some time now, it might be due to stress as memory loss is seen as one of the physical symptoms of stress.

We know that stress, worry, and depression can all result in forgetfulness, disorientation, trouble concentrating, and other difficulties that interfere with everyday tasks.

Your digestion is out of whack.

Stress and digestive health are inextricably linked. You may have observed in the past that you have difficulty with heartburn, diarrhoea, and constipation during stressful times. These are all typical stress-related gastrointestinal problems.

Consequently, when you’re worried, your stomach tends to frequently churn and feel uneasy, since worry causes the body to generate extra digestive acid.

These sensations may also indicate that you are not emptying your stomach as fast as you should, resulting in cramps, gas, and bloating.

You are perpetually thirsty.

If you’re chronically dehydrated, it’s worth consulting a physician. Excessive thirst can be a symptom of conditions such as diabetes.

However, you may be dehydrated as a result of excessive tension and have been linked with being one of the physical symptoms of stress.

According to Dr Santini MD, Senior Medical Director of Ambulatory Services at Parkland, chronic stress is a red flag to watch. When stress is severe, low blood pressure can occur, resulting in dizziness, sadness, and anxiety, as well as excessive thirst.

This is because stress stimulates your adrenal glands to produce more hormones. Additionally, these glands produce hormones that control your body’s fluid levels, as well as electrolytes.

If your adrenal glands are worn down, the body may believe it needs additional fluids when it actually does not. While increasing your H2O consumption should not create any difficulties, it is an indication of a longer-term issue that must be addressed.

Your musculature is painful.

Oftentimes, sore muscles occur as a result of tension.

When you are under a great deal of stress, your body responds by tensing up automatically.

This might progressively result in more bodily discomfort over time since your muscles are not accustomed to being stretched to that extent.

When your body is in fight or flight mode, it creates an excessive amount of cortisol, which results in increased tensing.

In the same way that grinding your teeth causes discomfort, you may experience soreness elsewhere in your body as a result of increased strain on your muscles.

While a nice massage or a hot bath may assist temporarily, you will eventually need to address these physical symptoms of stress and their underlying causes.

Your sleep is disrupted.

If you’re having difficulty sleeping at night, it might be that stress is making it more difficult for you to relax because stress can result in sleep loss as one of its effects.

Constantly being on high alert might delay the start of sleep and result in fast, nervous thoughts at night.

Inadequate sleep might then contribute to more stress.

When you’re in bed, it’s probable that you spend a lot of time thinking about the things that bother you. After all, there is nothing else that can divert your attention away from your problems.

Additionally, you may discover that you’re having more strange dreams as a result of your stress.

On the other side, some individuals report an increased urge to sleep when they are anxious.

This might be a sign that you’re not only dealing with physical symptoms of stress but also with anxiety and despair.

Consult your physician about these concerns because they should be able to provide you with some tailored advice for your specific situation.

How to Reduce the Physical Symptoms of Stress by Dealing with Stressors in Life

By now, you would most likely agree that learning to manage stress and stressors in life is essential for your health and well-being.

It’s crucial that you find self-care and relaxation activities that you enjoy and engage in them on a regular basis as a way to manage stress in your life.

In fact, make self-care a priority by minimising your stress.

Now, how do you reduce the physical symptoms of stress by dealing with stressors in life?

well, interestingly enough, in my experience, while life periodically throws major curveballs, it is frequently not the major pressures that cause stress and impacts our happiness.

It’s often the minor irritations and pressures that never seem to abate.

And while we become accustomed to these little inconveniences and disappointments over time, this does not imply they do not have a significant influence on our lives in the long run.

Oftentimes, it is only after these stresses are removed from your life that you realise how much stress they were creating.

Eliminating the small common stresses can provide significant comfort and relief!

Consider the Following Techniques for Reducing Your Stress Levels

Determine the sources of your stress.

Make a list of everything that causes you to stress on a regular basis.

Carry a little notepad with you and jot down anything that causes you to stress in your daily life.

Make certain to record both weekdays and weekends.

Weekends are more likely to have stressors that a typical weekday does not.

Begin at home.

Identify everything that annoys you in and around your house.

  • It may be a gaping hole in your garden fence or an obnoxious picture in your hallway.
  • Perhaps your car is difficult to start in the morning.
  • Is the space where your children play constantly a mess?
  • Is there a stain on the ceiling from the most recent torrential downpour?
  • Create a list of these stressors and begin addressing them in a logical manner.
stressors in life

You might be amazed at how many of them can be addressed pretty simply.

Consider your workplace.

Work is frequently stressful.

What causes you stress at work?

Who causes you stress at work?

Which tasks bring you the most stress?

Each day, you spend a significant amount of time at work.

A minor adjustment here might have a significant effect.

Ask yourself:

  • Are you capable of delegating jobs that you dislike to others?
  • Is it possible to spend less time with individuals you dislike?
  • Are you looking for a new role inside the company?
  • Would you like to start a new business?

Consider the individuals who are important in your life.

Consider the individuals you meet outside of work.

Do you have a friend or family member that consistently causes you stress?

stressors in life

Examine your relationships critically and consider what you can do to improve the areas that are difficult.

Financial strain.

Financial difficulties are a frequent source of stress.

They may perhaps be the most prevalent source of stress.

Whatever your financial status, if you’re worried, the usual remedy is to either earn more money or spend less.

  • What expenditures can you remove or reduce?
  • What are some strategies for increasing your income?

Improve your sleep and engage in physical activity.

Exercise and enough sleep can significantly boost your resilience to stress.

Take note of how fatigue impairs a little child’s capacity to cope with stress.

Adults are no different.

Get enough sleep (7 to 9 hours per night) and exercise on a regular basis.

stressors in life

You’ll experience less stress and be better equipped to deal with it when it does arise.

Take Away

At the end of the day, daily stresses will never cease.

They will continue to wreak havoc on your body and life day after day until you do something about it and find some respite.

As people, we have a tendency to accept far too much in our lives for far too long, often resulting in more stress than is required.

So, examine every element of your life for daily stressors causing stresses and make every effort to mitigate their effect on your life.

About the author

Gideon Hanekom

Gideon Hanekom is the creator of, a popular relationship blog that ranks among the top 50 relationship blogs in 2024. The website helps couples to create happier, healthier, and more intimate relationships. Gideon is a trained professional counsellor and holds post-graduate degrees in Theology and Psychology. His articles have also been featured on respected platforms such as and The Good Men Project.

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