Stress is a biological response to extreme situations. Our ‘fight or flight’ response to danger evolved over millions of years. Today, despite the fact we don’t need to evade dangerous predators, it’s still there. A stress response is our fight or flight instinct kicking in. It floods the body with adrenaline, enabling us to run fight or run away. When the body is flooded with adrenaline, we can accomplish physical feats that would ordinarily be beyond us. It’s not until after things have calmed down that we feel the aftereffects.

In small doses, stress is good for us. It makes us more productive and focussed. Exposure to long-term stress, whether through a difficult job, dysfunctional relationship, or anxiety disorder is bad for our health. Stress makes you sick. It lowers the immune systems and leaves you vulnerable to serious diseases. Here are four signs you are under too much stress.

You Can’t Sleep

Insomnia is a classic sign of stress. Most people can’t sleep some of the time. If the bedroom is too hot, too cold, or the neighbours are having a party, you will probably find it hard to nod off. One or two poor nights’ sleep won’t kill you, but long-term insomnia is seriously bad for your health.

If you lie there, tossing and turning, your mind on overload, or you wake up at stupid o’clock, worrying about work, stress is definitely the root cause of your problems.

You have Gastrointestinal Problems

Stress tummy is a real problem. It’s that horrible churning feeling where you feel nauseous or you keep needing to use the bathroom. We often suffer from stress-related gastrointestinal problems before an exam or important job interview. This passes once the stressful event is done and dusted.

Long-term stress can cause serious gut problems, so if you’re suffering from stomach pains, nausea, cramps, and diarrhoea, you could have stress-related IBS. If left untreated, you may end up with a stomach ulcer.

You’re Constantly ‘Under the Weather’

Constant stress affects the immune system, leaving us vulnerable to colds and other viruses, infections, and generally feeling under the weather.

If you can’t shake a cold or your cold sores won’t heal, your immune system is compromised. Are you that person who has a cold more than three times a year? Do you have a stressful job? If so, stress is affecting your health.

Your Libido has Disappeared

Loss of sexual desire can happen for any number of reasons: a bad relationship, caring for a newborn baby, menopause, etc. However, stress definitely plays a part. Women very often don’t feel like having sex when they are caring for kids, elderly parents, and working a full-time job. Men in stressful jobs are also vulnerable and stress can cause impotence as well as a loss of desire.

If you’ve lost the urge to have sex and you can’t work out why, consider whether stress is a problem.

Don’t ignore the symptoms of stress. If left untreated, stress could quite easily kill you.

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