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longgone's avatar

How does your body tell you that you're stressed?

Asked by longgone (17107points) August 21st, 2015

There are many different ways for our bodies to let us know that stress levels are too high. Do you grind your teeth at night? Do you have trouble sleeping or eating?

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14 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I sleep walk more than usual, and that tends to be a lot.

DoNotKnow's avatar

I’m better at getting the signals much earlier than I did in the past – mostly because I check in fairly frequently on my posture and breathing.

But if I’m stuck in a mindless period of ignoring the signs, it might take something as severe as finding myself holding a near-empty pint of ice cream to realize that I’m stressed.

Most of the time, however, a frequent body scan will do the trick. It’s easy to find places of tension (shoulders) and notice that breathing is too shallow and quick.

ragingloli's avatar

I grow a third head and it starts throwing expletives at me.

longgone's avatar

I was inspired to ask this by getting annoyed at a noise, only to find out that it was me – tapping out rhythms with my teeth. I also clench my jaw, tap my feet or fingers, and find myself sighing to get rid of the tension in my chest. When things are really bad, my legs are restless when I’m in bed.

I’m going to take a bath now, which almost always helps.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

What an interesting question.

When stress rears its ugly head, it comes in the form of waking up in the middle of the night and being unable to go back to sleep immediately. The issue of the day takes over, and it requires reading or some other activity to move past it for the moment.

I have a tendency to do the heavy sigh thing as well. Since it seems to come and go, I’ll have to track it. There was a co-worker that did this with alarming frequency. I finally asked her if she was okay. She launched into a long list of issues going on in her life. You may have something there.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Great question. When I’m stressed I want to sleep. I yawn, sigh, and just want to get under the covers.
I also start fiddling and fixing things that should just be tossed – useless stuff. I’ll spend time fixing a pair of $1.00 eyeglasses or pulling weeds in my lawn. When I realize I’m doing it I actually say “WTF are you doing?!?!” That usually snaps me out of it.

jca's avatar

I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and think about the problem immediately. It may take me a few hours to get back to sleep. Fortunately, this does not happen often. I also help that by not drinking caffeine after lunch time and not drinking too much liquid at night, so hopefully I sleep straight through.

zenvelo's avatar

High anxiety for me results in sleeplessness. Other stress symptoms include muscle tightness in the neck and shoulders, often accompanied by headaches.

kimchi's avatar

Trouble sleeping, back pain, loss of interest. For some reason, when I’m stressed, I always look at social media more. That’s a bad habit because it makes me feel even worse.

Coloma's avatar

For me, for sure the sleep issue. Infact, while not often, it just happened last night. Woke to go to the bathroom around 3 a.m. and then found myself tossing and turning and ruminating about a conversation I had with someone yesterday that was highly annoying.
Also the neck and shoulder tension and the desire to check out and be left alone.

fluthernutter's avatar

Normal symptoms like sleeplessness, tension in my neck and that heavy sigh that @Pied_Pfeffer described.

But the weirdest thing is that when I get really stressed out, I get these little lumps on my arm. You can’t see them. But they feel like little balls under my skin. And they just go away when I’m no longer stressed. One of my sisters also gets the same thing when she’s stressed too.

longgone's avatar

Thanks, it was interesting to read about the various symptoms of stress.

@fluthernutter wins the thread.

jerv's avatar

Migraines, muscle weakness, tremors that sometimes yield to full-on seizures, intolerance of even the slightest light or sound… some of us have very bad reactions to stress.

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