Your Body Is Telling You Something: 5 Subtle Signs Of Stress
If stress tolerance has become your habit, and you have been doing well with accommodating more and more stress on a daily basis, chances are you may not be able to notice the fact that you are chronically stressed. Chronic stress is reportedly the key risk factor for numerous inflammation and lifestyle disorders including diabetes, hypertension, chronic heart diseases, elevated cholesterol, and obesity that affects the majority of us, reducing the quality of life. Quite a few of them can take a deadly turn if the underlying causes of stress aren’t resolved in time. Here are six subtle signs or body’s check engine lights that you need to look out for before chronic stress gets better of you.
1. Irregular bowel movement
You may erroneously associate improper digestion with food choices or poor diet. But recent studies show, there is a clear connection between your brain and gut health, and that chronic stress can lead to inflamed guts. Stress affects our immune system and an impaired immune system can lead to IBS or irregular bowel syndrome. (also read: 8 Ayurvedic remedies to treat IBS)
You can try various techniques to bring the stress under control. Giving yourself a nice full body abhyanga (here’s everything you need to know about abhyanga, choice of oils and how it’s done) every day or alternate days either after work or in the morning right before heading for the shower, can go a long way in releasing the stress toxins from the body. You can also try Shankara’s Stress Relief Set.
Muscle Relief Bath Salts include the relaxing fragrance of pure arnica, frankincense and lavender-infused Epsom salts that can be sprinkled in a warm bath to ease muscular tensions and uplift your mood.
Muscle Release Oil – You can follow the bath with equally powerful soothing ingredients like boswelia, arnica and devil’s claw to melt away stubborn soreness, stiffness, feel light, flexible and let a sense of wellbeing dawn.
2. Skin allergies and acne
You may never have thought about how insidious chronic stress can be if you never paid attention to that odd acne breakout that would adorn your skin right before an important interview or exam or a gala event. The elevated level of stress is reflected in elevated levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. When cortisol is out of control, it can increase the oil production in your skin. Inflammed guts can also lead to skin problems like dry skin and acne, and in some cases psoriasis.
To fight acne blemishes that may be a common stress-related occurrence, you can use Shankara’s Blemish Support Serum, made from the enriching and calming goodness of over a dozen herbs including meadowsweet, lemongrass, lavender, neem extract, manuka essential oil, extracts of witch hazel bark, olive leaves, manjishta, comfrey leaves, among others.
3. Affected sleep cycle
About 32.6% of the working American adults reported sleeping less than 6 hours per night when the ideal is 7-9hours of sleep. Between 30% to 48% of older adults suffer from some form of insomnia. Not getting enough sleep can affect judgment, mood, and memory. According to American Psychological Association, Stress in America Survey findings ‘show that stress may be getting in the way of quality sleep. American adults report sleeping an average of 6.7 hours a night — less than the minimum recommendation of seven to nine hours.6 In addition, 42 percent of adults report that their sleep quality is fair or poor and 43 percent report that stress has caused them to lie awake at night in the past month’. Lack of sleep and stress make a vicious cycle. Finds show that adults who have elevated stress levels do not sleep well or enough and the consequences of poor sleep cause more stress and poorer sleep.
4. Onset of headaches
Stress headaches are more common in the US today than you would know. Almost 80% of Americans suffer a tension or stress headache, and almost 3% of these are chronic cases. Stress headaches can be daunting, they can make you irritable, make your work suffer, and generally affect the quality of your life. For most people, the immediate response to tension headaches is popping pain-relieving medicines. (also read: 5 Pressure Points To Cure A Stress Headache)
5. Hair loss and greying
There is enough research to be found on the link between stress and hair loss. Hair loss that is related to stress can reflect in three main ways-
- Inactive hair follicles that do not support growth in hair volume.
- Autoimmune condition where chronic stress leads to hair loss and drying of the scalp.
- Pulling on hair subconsciously due to excessive stress.
Stress can also cause premature greying of hair. Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for preparing our body for fight or flight situation when faced with a stressful or dangerous trigger.
“Under conditions of stress, the activation of these sympathetic nerves leads to burst release of the neurotransmitter noradrenaline (also known as norepinephrine), a study says. “This causes quiescent melanocyte stem cells to proliferate rapidly, and is followed by their differentiation, migration, and permanent depletion from the niche.”
Going by Ayurveda, a lot of hair problems related to stress can be due to aggravated pitta dosha.
Experts recommend the use of essential oils made from select herbs that have Pitta pacifying qualities, for regular use as a moisturizer, bath oil or for body massages. For example, Shankara’s Soothing Body Oil is one such offering. It is a soothing blend of essential oils that are known for their relaxing and de-stressing qualities. Made from essential oils of almond, grapeseed, sunflower, borage, evening primrose, lavender, sandalwood, and chamomile, this nutrient-rich body oil also helps address worries of the mind, over critical thinking, irritability, and anger! An oil for hypertension is also oil for a perfectly calm and relaxed mind!