Stress has never just been a weight on your shoulders or pressure behind the eyes. Nor has it ever been a solely mental issue that just makes you jig your knee and bite your lip during tense times. Stress can be felt all over the body, and the more you ruminate on the things that are piling up, the worse those effects are going to get.
And some of those effects can be quite strange. You might not even know that some of the issues below can result from overwhelming, prolonged stress, but bodies can be incredibly weird! That’s why it’s important to keep an eye for any worrying symptoms. They could be a sign you need to do some major relaxing right now, or to see a doctor about the anxiety and stress that’s been building up.
Don’t worry – we’ve got some advice on busting stress as well. But for now, let’s go through some of the strangest things stress can do to the body. The more you know now, the less you’re going to panic later on!
Your Hair Can Change Colour
For most people, stress turns hair grey. However, it could also turn your hair sandy or white, or simply a much lighter colour of your natural tone. Hair is going to naturally change colour as we go through changes in our lives (the main one being age), but finding grey hairs when you’ve usually got brilliantly brunette hair can be extremely worrying.
In terms of your appearance, it could be a shock to see grey or light hairs in prominent places. Apart from plucking the hairs out of your head, there’s little to be done in terms of an instant fix. However, if you notice hair naturally falling out in greater amounts than usual, you’ll want to speak to a doctor about things. This is a sign the stress you’re dealing with is getting serious.
You’ll Have More Aches and Pains
What’s your pain tolerance? It differs from person to person, but in times of stress, it usually gets a lot lower. For someone who already finds it hard to cope with a paper cut or stubbing their toe, they’re going to experience a lot more aches and pains than usual.
Stress has a tendency to make you feel strung out. As such, if you’re already hanging by a thread, the smallest thing can leave a bruise or make you feel like you’ve been carrying something heavy all day. That makes things hurt a lot more, both physically and mentally, and these aches may even prevent you from sleeping well at night.
At times like this a weed drink would come in handy, but there are various over the counter medications you can take to combat the pain in the short term. You should also have a few more long, luxurious baths, and try to book in for a proper, professional massage.
You Might Visit the Toilet More Often
This might be the most unusual item on this list, but it’s one you should know about! Stress can make you need to empty your bladder more often than usual, as well as give you gut pains and bouts of diarrhoea.
It’s a hard thing to admit, but if you’re stressed and this is the main symptom you’re dealing with, speak to a medical professional. The embarrassment that can arise from constantly needing the bathroom is only going to make your stress worse.
Stress can also cause unexplained pain in the pelvic area, and may even lead to more gut and urine infections in the long run. Cortisol can do a number on a healthy gut system, and that’ll make your digestion tract a lot more sensitive than you’re used to.
You’re Coming Out in a Rash
Skin can be very sensitive. As the largest organ in the body, there’s a lot of surface area for things to go wrong. When you’re stressed, that means you can come out in rashes, hives, and redness in multiple areas. If you notice symptoms like these, don’t panic. That’ll just make the problem worse in the end!
However, you also shouldn’t ignore skin problems arising from stress. It’s one of the most likely signs that your body is at breaking point; if your skin is drying out, getting hot and red and itchy, and even splitting and blistering, something in your life needs to change.
To start with, make sure there are no underlying skin issues. People with eczema, for example, are more likely to have a skin problem when stressed, but that isn’t the case for everyone. From here, you can try to address both the symptoms and the core problem, through the use of moisturiser and reducing the source of stress as much as possible.
You’re Struggling to Remember Things
Stress can cause memory problems. That makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? Ironically however, people tend to forget that this can be a symptom. But if your mind is constantly preoccupied with something else going on in your life, you’re not going to spare a thought for that dentist appointment you need to make.
You may also find you’re leaving things in the oven for too long, or forgetting where you put things – both behaviours can end up being very dangerous in certain situations. You may even block out a good portion of long term memories you’ve held, as you’re so focused on this one thing that your entire perception of your life has become skewed.
This can be the scariest part of dealing with chronic stress. If you’ve noticed your mind behaving in these ways, be sure to see a doctor as soon as possible. You may need medical help to reduce the tension you’re under.
You’re Sleeping a Lot More
A lot of people find stress causes them to miss out on crucial kipping hours. Insomnia is a common comorbidity with stress and anxiety disorders, and losing out on sleep can make the way you feel even worse. It’s part of the stress cycle and one of the hardest elements to break out of.
But on the other end of the scale, people who are stressed out often sleep a lot more as well. You may sleep for longer, meaning upwards of 8 hours a night, because you feel you’re not refreshing your energy like you used to. You may also nap more often, in order to ‘check out’ of reality and get a break from what’s going on in your life right now.
If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to address what’s making you stressed as soon as you can. Sleeping too much is just as much of a problem as sleeping too little. You might miss out on important moments in life and new opportunities, as you’re stuck in bed and feel like you don’t want to be anywhere else. That can impact your mental health even further.
Stress and Your Body
Stress can have a huge, sweeping effect on the body. If you’re under pressure at the moment and notice your skin looking a little weird or you’re finding it hard to remember day to day things, it’s time to tackle the sensation.
A little bit of stress is fine, but if you’ve felt like this for weeks on end, you may even want to speak to a doctor. Stress doesn’t have to get out of hand, no matter how small the problem may seem!