Stress is one of those things in life that’s only good in short-lived, mild doses. Healthy stress is good because it gets your blood pumping and keeps you focused for a short period of time, but this burst of energy can become unhealthy if it’s experienced on a consistent basis. Any type of pressure that persists for countless days, weeks, or months is something that can have damaging effects on your body. This kind of unhealthy stress, or chronic stress, is usually caused by a specific event that’s mentally or physically burdening on the body. The loss of a loved one, relationship trouble, or any other significant life changes can be examples of events that can cause long term, unhealthy stress. Below are 5 of the most common symptoms of chronic stress that could be signs of potential major health problems.
1) Difficulty Sleeping
Difficulty sleeping is one of the most common symptoms of unhealthy stress and it can often be easily noticed. If you consistently experience trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you may be experiencing the side effects of chronic stress. Insomnia and sleep apnea are common results of this kind of stress, and any prolonged experience with these symptoms may imply that your stress has reached an unhealthy level.
2) Abnormal Irritability or Anger
Another symptom, much like difficulty sleeping, is abnormal irritability and anger. Day-to-day irritability that’s constant and more extreme than usual can be a sign of constant stress. This can often be a cause of sleeping trouble, so it’s common to see these 2 symptoms occur together. Noticeable behavioral changes, or intense moodiness, is often a sign that something is wrong with your body chemistry.
3) Frequent Headaches
Headaches can occur for a lot of different reasons, but long term stress has been shown to make headaches stronger and more frequent. Those experiencing unhealthy levels of stress are nearly 30% more likely to develop chronic headaches than those only experiencing minor stress. Like most things with the mind and body, any significant change in your lifestyle may be a sign that something is wrong.
4) Chest Pain or Breathing Trouble
A less common, but very serious symptom of chronic stress is chest pain or breathing trouble. Stress is known to raise blood pressure, but long term hypertension can lead to heart attack, stroke, or other heart-related diseases. If chest pain or difficulty breathing is something you’re experiencing regularly as a result of newfound stress in your life, it may be time to consult a doctor to reduce the risks of future health problems.
5) Difficulty Concentrating
Losing focus abruptly as a result of stress can be a major contributor to poor motivation, lack of efficiency, and memory issues. Difficulty with concentration can be a sign of chronic stress and is usually experienced with other non-intentional behavioral changes. Any combination of these symptoms could imply the existence of unhealthy stress in your life.