Stress can show up in strange ways that you confuse for something else. You need to pay attention because chronic stress puts you at increased risk for serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and depression.
Experts identify six signs that you could be overstressed.
- Weird or recurring dreams. “Unfortunately, the stress we deal with during the day tends to follow us to bed at night and plays out in our dreams,” says Lauri Quinn Loewenberg, author of Dream On It—Unlock Your Dreams, Change Your Life.
- Tight muscles. Stress causes us to tense our muscles and can even lead to muscle spasms, according to Woman’s Day magazine.
- Mouth pain. Stress causes a lot of people to grind their teeth in their sleep and others to unconsciously clench their jaws during waking hours, says Debbie Mandel, author of Addicted to Stress: A Woman’s 7-Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life.
- Hair troubles. You’re more likely to lose your hair if you’re stressed out. Stress can speed up the graying process, too, reports the Mayo Clinic.
- Stomach discomfort or pain. Doctors don’t entirely understand the connection between stress and gastro problems, but it makes the intestines more sensitive and contract more, says the A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia.
- Frequent colds. Stress hurts the immune system and leaves us vulnerable to frequent colds. One study found people were twice as likely to catch a cold when highly stressed.
— Adapted from “Stress Symptoms: 8 Surprising Signs You’re Maxed Out,” The Huffington Post.