How Do Our Bodies React to Stress, and How Can We Combat It?

Common Causes of Stress

  • Death of a loved one
  • Getting divorced
  • Personal injury or illness
  • Going to jail
  • Getting fired
  • Getting married
  • Impossibly high expectations from others,
  • a tremendous feeling of responsibility (usually coupled with an incredible sense of loss of control),
  • constant, varied interruptions while trying to carry on a routine.

Symptoms of Stress

  • Rapid Heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • General aches and pains
  • Muscle tension in face, neck and shoulders (e.g. teeth-grinding, jaw-clenching)
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Acne
  • Fatigue
  • Digestive Issues (e.g. indigestion, acid reflux symptoms)
  • Loss of libido
  • Problems sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of depression or anxiety
  • Feelings of loss of control
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feelings of loneliness and isolation
  • Lack of focus
  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Issues with memory and organization
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Negative and anxious thoughts
  • Appetite changes (either eating too little or too much)
  • Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
  • Using unhealthy coping mechanisms (e.g. drinking, drugs)
  • Nervous habits (e.g. biting nails)
  • Straining relationships with others (usually due to irritability)
  • Increased cynicism and loss of trust

Fight, Flight, Freeze, Flop, Fawn, Fatigue, Friend

The Devil is in the Details

The more frequently you experience stress, the more damaging effects you will feel.

  • Emotional dysregulation and psychiatric disturbances
  • Cognitive decline
  • Central nervous system (CNS) disturbances
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Skin conditions
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • A weakened immune system
  • Strain on the musculoskeletal system
  • Reproductive system disruptions

Dealing With Stress

  • Reduce stressors. Cut out optional tasks to give yourself more time to relax. Pausing some of your personal goals may help make time for the work you need to do or the time you need to recharge.
  • Plan your day. Time management and organization can help you retain a sense of control over your life. If you’re generally cluttered, maybe whipping up a quick to-do list might bring order to your day.
  • Learn to relax. Self-care is essential, even if it’s just taking five minutes off work to reflect on what’s going on in your life. Start a journal, learn to meditate, or download a self-care app.
  • Practice honest and open communication. With friends and family when something is wrong, and with the people causing stress in your life. If you’re in a situation where you don’t feel that’s possible, consider talking to a professional.
  • Modify your lifestyle. Smoking, excess drinking, drugs, and unhealthy eating can exacerbate the negative feelings you are already experiencing. That doesn’t mean you have to become a health whiz — merely recognizing the signals your body gives you when you’re engaging in unhealthy behavior can bring drastic changes to your mood.
  • Exercise. This may help boost your self-esteem and overall feelings of well-being and combat the adverse effects of stress.




Writer. Student. Music lover. Bookworm. YA Fantasy author. Definitely not pursuing world domination :)

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Ryver Knight

Ryver Knight

Writer. Student. Music lover. Bookworm. YA Fantasy author. Definitely not pursuing world domination :)

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