Life is complicated. (How often have you thought that? I have – often!)
It’s often a roller-coaster of emotions and efforts to be productive at work while juggling that ever-growing list of errands to run along with the home-based chores that need to be done. Add in the fun stuff like working out and seeing friends and you have one very full life. The trick is work-life balance and it’s very hard to create that balance. There is one “thing” that can throw off that “balance” -and it’s called stress.
Courtesy of the California Association of Orthodontists and a few other doctors in various disciplines, we have a great guest expert essay on how to recognize if you are more stressed out than you think. Stress has a way of going undercover– and your body pays for it in many ways. Each of the practitioners mentioned in this piece offers up relevant and useful bite-sized nuggets of tips and tricks!
5 Signs You Might Be More Stressed than You Think – Plus Tips to Help You Out!
There’s a stress epidemic, really. And it might even be killing us. Whether it’s work, politics, relationships, health, finances – or a dangerous concoction of the bunch – stress intensifies these problems and costs you financially and personally. Experts note that today’s tumultuous political climate is raising the stakes for stress, which studies estimate already leads to 75-90 percent of doctor visits.
So here are five signs that you’re way more stressed than you know – and a few simple expert recommendations on how to feel like you’re in control again. Which you totally can be.
–Achy Breaky Teeth
Stress exhibits itself all the time – especially at night.
“In the day, you might be taking perfect care of your pearly whites, but at night, stress might be causing you to unconsciously gnaw and grind away at your teeth. Sore, loose feeling teeth is a telltale sign that you’re overstressed”, says Dr. Jeffrey Kwong of the California Association of Orthodontists (CAO).
“Getting a custom fit mouth guard to wear at night is going to save your teeth from serious damage that could cause someone literal headaches,” suggests Kwong. “So pay close attention to your teeth and try to keep a layer of air between them during the day too.”
Orthodontic experts say this nighttime wear and tear has far-reaching consequences.
This stress-induced habit can damage teeth, gums, oral connective tissue and it can cause headaches, cervical pain and hearing disorders, according to Dr. Kelly Giannetti, a member of CAO. Dr. Sheetal Patil echoes her CAO associates and warns that teeth grinding can cause a sore neck or jaw in the morning, and for people who have braces, they might notice “frequently broken arch wire or brackets.”
–Always Counting Sheep
Anya Shumilina, a dietetic behavioral therapist, calls stress the invisible enemy. Someone may not have panic attacks or increased anxiety, but that’s not telling the whole story – lack of sleep might be.
“Disrupted sleep cycles and restless sleep can be one of the first signs that your mind needs time to reboot,” stated Shumilina .
“When your normal eight hours is turning to five or even fewer hours of sleep or you’re finally nodding off way past what you consider to be normal hours and waking up much later than you’d like, stress is likely the contributing factor,”according to Jessica May Tang, a licensed occupational therapist and corporate wellness consultant with Damon Wellness Consulting.
–Bad Skin Day – Again
Your skin is a visual indicator that you may be over stressed, and breaking out week after week is a good sign that something needs to change. Stress causes your body to pump hormones, and the overproduction of androgens can stimulate your oil glands, leaving you with another acne breakout, according to Rick Sliter from BioClarity.
“When these glands produce too much oil, this excess substance can combine with dead skin cells, debris and Propionibacterium acnes bacteria, clogging up the poor and resulting in an acne blemish,” comments Sliter.
–Weight Gain, Weight Loss
If life is inconsistent, your weight might be too – as overeating and undereating are common ways that people try and deal with stress.
“Gaining or losing weight without trying is often a sign of stress, either we crave food to relieve our stress or we lose our appetites and don’t eat enough,” says Dr. Helen Odessky, a licensed clinical psychologist.
— Seriously Bad Attitude
If you’re normally a level-headed person, but just about everything is getting on your nerves, you’re probably really stressed. A short, or shorter than normal, temper might be affecting your performance at work and even your life at home.
“Being efficient is one thing,” states Odessky , “but if you are cutting people off repeatedly or foregoing the usual social niceties, you are more stressed than you think.”
Another social cue that stress is getting to you is shutting people out that you usually want to be around. Not feeling connected to the relationships you once valued could be because of stress, and one Harvard study found that the quality of these relationships directly relates to wellbeing and happiness.
–Breath In, One, Two, Breath Out
If you noticed one or more of these things in your own life – you might be stressed close to the limit. But there are a few things you can do right away to get your life back on track – and feeling stress-free.
First, think about the areas of life that are causing you stress and simply think about what makes them stressful. Sometimes, solutions will pop out right away. Tang encourages people to think about any beliefs that might make the activity or event more stressful than it needs to be. Change those beliefs if you can.
Second, practice deep breathing exercises to help lower your heart rate and blood pressure. This will bring more oxygen to your brain and body, which will help you think and move better, according to Tang. Check out this list of six fast and easy to do breathing exercises that can help keep you calm and ready to take on the world!
Thanks to all these great doctors and therapists for these great tips and tricks!!
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