In 2011, The Patron of the Malaysian Psychiatric Association (MPA) found that 11% of Malaysians struggled with depression and anxiety. In 2017, that number spiked to 29%. Since the pandemic started in 2020, numerous studies have been conducted to assess the impact on Malaysian citizens. University Pendidikan Sultan Idris revealed how 70% of its respondents agreed that since the outbreak, their anxiety levels have increased - common physical symptoms include fatigue, headaches, mood swings, and even shortness of breathAnxiety and stress are closely connected, except that stress is the body’s reaction to an external trigger, whereas anxiety is the body’s reaction to the stress. Typically, symptoms of anxiety and stress overlap.
A common cause of anxiety and stress is work. In Japan, there’s even a term for anxiety and stress resulting from work: karoshi. It means death caused by overwork and stress. Yes, it’s true: chronic stress can lead to heart disease, stress-induced seizures, strokes, and more.
In order to avoid karoshi, here are 8 telltale signs that you’re stressed.
Acne (Even If You’re Not Prone To Acne)If you wake up one day with your face covered in pimples and you’re pretty sure it’s not triggered by any allergens, the blame falls on stress. This is often due to a hormone called cortisol that’s secreted to combat stress. Unfortunately, it causes overproduction of oil in the hair follicles. So, don’t be surprised if you wake up with acne in your 30s! If you’re currently battling acne, then here are 4 Ways To Help Clear Your Acne Naturally.
Uncharacteristic Digestive Problems
Considering how stress affects your physiological system, it’s unsurprising that stress can lead to gastrointestinal or digestive problems such as abdominal cramps, diarrhea, constipation, and the likes. By making small and gradual changes in your lifestyle, you can alleviate all stress-related digestive problems. Our top three tips would be: eat balanced meals in smaller portions at regular intervals, don’t forget to stay hydrated by drinking at least eight glasses of water daily and try to exercise regularly.
Sudden Weight GainWhile you’d assume that digestive problems lead to weight loss, the opposite is also true. That pesky hormone cortisol can actually make you feel hungrier during times of stress. These increased levels of stress will, in turn, increase your insulin levels and cause a drop in blood sugar levels. As a result, you will crave more junk food or just any type of food that’s fatty and/ or sugary. You can learn how to curb sugar cravings and snack healthy through our other articles - phew!
Random (& Chronic) Body Aches & PainAccording to Jay Winner, author of Stress Management Made Simple, “When you are stressed, your body produces hormones that increase muscle tension and pain sensitivity”. In fact, a study found that the participants involved who were experiencing chronic pain had higher levels of cortisol. If you’re feeling tight within your body then try loosening up those tight muscles with these easy full-body stretches or these simple seated yoga stretches. You could even make yourself this homemade pain relief balm.
Frequent Headaches & MigrainesHave you ever experienced a tension headache? Usually, a tension headache is accompanied by sharp and/ or dull pain, pressure at the back of the head, and/ or pressure at the neck. This study proves how stressful events preceded the development of chronic headaches. Here are some ideas on Natural Soothers For Tension Headaches.
Sleep DeprivationIt’s a given that stress can affect sleep. A lesser-known fact is that insufficient sleep will weaken your immunity. The consequence of tossing & turning in bed is that you become more susceptible to colds. Here are 8 Ways To Better Sleep and How To Beat Insomnia Naturally. Alternatively, try doing Yoga For A Good Night’s Rest or keep your immunity high with these Natural Remedies For Cold and Flu.
Freaky Hair LossThe reason you start losing hair when stressed is due to most of the aforementioned signs, particularly poor dietary habits and lack of sleep. It’s not uncommon for people to start losing hair weeks or, sometimes, months after a stressful event. This is known as ‘telogen effluvium’ which occurs when a lot of hair is in the resting phase for 3 to 4 months before it falls out and gets replaced by new strands of hair. The good news? If you are able to address the stressful event, your hair growth cycle will resume as normal. Eating these foods will help your hair stay healthy and strong as well.
Feeling Nothing But BlueSerotonin is the much-loved hormone that can elevate your mood and turn around imbalanced chemical activity in the brain. Stress, however, tends to deplete these happy hormones, which can then lead to depression. If nothing changes, suicidal thoughts may ensue at a later stage.
Remember: You Are In Control
Stress is inevitable in this day and age and yes, its side effects can be tough. There will always be one way or another that you can combat stress, you are in control! So the next time you’re feeling anxious or nervous, use that energy to your advantage and calm your nerves with this 1-minute Yoga Technique.
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