Physiological Symptoms of Stress

When the body is overwhelmed by stressors from the environment, it might respond with ways to shield itself from what may appear to be threat.

To defend itself as a defense, the body produces chemical reactions that enable it to respond at the present moment, like an rise in blood pressure, altered breathing or muscles tension.

The body is designed to respond to stress However, when stress becomes chronic this can put greater stress to the body’s tissues than is normal. The body may react in response to constant stress in various ways. 

In some cases, people don’t even realize the extent of their stress until it starts to reveal itself as physiological signs.

This article outlines certain physiological signs that are associated with stress.

Physiological Symptoms of Stress

Below, you’ll find some physiological signs that could be related to stress.


A lot of people experience fatigue and this is often attributed to stress. The causes of fatigue caused by stress can be various factors, such as lack of sleep, burnout, working too much, anxiety, and anxiety.

A study revealed that one out of four participants suffered from stress-related fatigue that is more common in women than in men.  The researchers also found that burnout due to stress-related fatigue caused by factors such as working pressures, “little vacations or leisure time,” as well as working in overtime.

This study revealed that fatigue can be found to be linked to depression, social deprivation and unhealthy lifestyle habits like smoking cigarettes consumption and obesity along with serious medical illnesses. 3 It can affect productivity and ability to finish work.

Naturally, it’s difficult to do anything in a state of constant fatigue or exhausted.

Reduced stress levels can assist in reducing fatigue. It can be achieved by improving your sleeping habits and adjusting your daily routine and eating an nutritious diet and regularly exercising. A study for instance discovered that exercise regularly can improve sleeping quality and decreases the fatigue. 

Poor Sleep

Sleep is a key element in the human homeostasis (i.e. an optimum body function). 

It is possible for stress to have major effect on sleep quality. Sleepiness caused by stress can disappear after a couple of days, but it can become difficult to manage if it continues for a long time. 5 The positive side is the fact that sleep problems can be treated through healthy lifestyle choices.

Mindfulness techniques for stress reduction can be beneficial to people who have difficulty sleeping as a result of pressure. Researchers have discovered that an 8-week program based on mindfulness for stress relief (MBSR) program enhanced the quality of sleep in people with cancer. 


A majority of people have headaches sometimes, but if headaches persist, that could be a sign of something more serious. The recurring headache is something you should examine and talk to an expert to make sure that they don’t indicate an underlying problem. Most often, headaches are a source of stress.

Stress may trigger the onset of headache disorder 7, and can increase the risk of suffering from chronic headaches or aggravating symptoms of headache.

The most frequently reported migraines include the tension-related headaches or migraines that both are linked to stress. Tension headaches can feel like tightness in head muscles, while migraines may present with a myriad of symptoms. Some include the sensation of throbbing pain within one region. Around one billion are affected by migraine. 

Heart Palpitations

If you experience the sensation of heart palpitations, it’s like your heart is beating or beating rapidly, a bit like a fluttering feel within your chest. They could be the result due to anxiety. 

According to research by Berntson and Cacioppo The connection between heart rate and stress could be due in part to “stressors are often associated with an increase in sympathetic cardiac control, a decrease in parasympathetic control, or both. ” 9The changes in cardiac control could cause a change in heart rate as well as the sensation of heart palpitations.

Recording the activities you take part in during times of heart palpitations could be helpful in identifying possible stressors making the difference.

Abdominal Pain

Researchers believe that the link between stress and the digestive system is due to its biological interfering in eating habits in addition to it’s impact on the digestion system’s performance.  This could lead to stomach (GI) problems such as constipation or gas and causes cramps and abdominal pain. 

Stress can affect the stomach’s inflammatory reactions and can cause an increase in GI swelling and altering motion in your GI tract, which can trigger conditions such as IBS, which is an irritable bowel disorder. (IBS). It also impacts how the body regulates acid, which is the reason stress may trigger acid production.

A majority of studies on abdominal pain and stress explores the relationship between stress and abdominal pain in children. Researchers discovered shared feelings of abdominal pain among adolescents and children who live in stressful situations, particularly those suffering from IBS. 

Stress is a risk factor for IBS and can cause symptoms to worsen. 11 Since stress is an important element in IBS symptoms, scientists believe that reducing stress could aid in managing IBS symptoms.

Muscle Pain

Everybody experiences muscles pain particularly after training, after overcoming an injury or battling viral infections. But, the pain of muscles could be caused by stress. Stress can trigger persistent muscle tension and contribute to discomfort. 

Stress can trigger physiological symptoms in chronic diseases of the muscles, such as fibromyalgia that is the name of a condition that causes tenderness joint stiffness, muscles aches along with tiredness. 

Weakened Immune System

If you are suffering from constant stress, you could notice that you are suffering from illness frequently. Stress has a profound influence in your immunity system’s performance. Over the past several decades researchers have shown an interest in the effects of stress upon the system of immunity. People who experience a higher level of stress have a lower immune system, which makes people more susceptible to diseases. 

In addition to the negative effect stress can have on your immune system, it may lead to unhealthy relationships with sleep, food activities, physical exercise, and alcohol and cigarettes. the consumption of alcohol

 These behaviors can further weaken the immune system by reducing its ability to protect your body from dangers and increase the risk of developing health problems.

Studies on the connection to stress, cancer and stress have revealed that the decline in the immune system that constant stress can lead to the progression and development of certain kinds of cancers. 

Medical Conditions Associated With Stress

Chronic stress has been shown to be linked with a range of medical conditions, like the following:

How to Reduce the Effects of Stress

There are many ways to lessen stress and reduce the effects it can have on your daily life. Read the article below to get a better understanding of some of the ways you can get an easier time dealing with stress and reduce the physiological effects it can cause.

Lifestyle Factors

Below is a list below of actions you can perform to reduce stress

  • Maintain a healthy and balanced diet. It is essential to establish healthy eating practices to lessen stress. Diet is correlated with stress and well-being. 2
  • Exercise daily. Physical activity is crucial to keep your body healthy. It also aids in keeping stress levels at bay. 21 The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that adults get 75-150 minutes of exercise during every day. 22
  • Set healthy boundaries by avoiding unhealthy behaviors such as smoking cigarettes or alcohol drinking. Consumption of harmful substances like these could cause harm to the body’s immune system leading to stress and health problems. 2
  • Make sure you get a good night’s rest. Without proper sleep it can be hard for your body to maintain strong immune systems. 21 It is recommended to have between 7 to 8 hours of rest every night. Make adjustments to your routine at night such as keeping a sleep journal, limiting your exposure to screens prior to bedtime or sleeping in a dark place and avoiding eating for just a few hours prior to going to bed.
  • TherapyPsychotherapy such as CBT, also known as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT),can be very beneficial to develop behaviors and thoughts which can help lower stress levels. It also aids in finding out what might be causing your stress.


The time you spend with yourself will aid in reducing the stress you might be experiencing:

  • Take time to unwindTime for relaxation is crucial however it’s difficult to find time to relax and unwind after a busy day. While it might seem difficult to find time to relax even during a busy day, it’s on you to find a way to do it. Even if it’s only a short amount of time to breathe deeply it is important to view your any time off as a chore that you can cross off your list of things to do. You can try some mindfulness techniques to reduce stress. 6
  • Make time for take a break for. Maybe it is the perfect time to have an “you day” or even taking a break. You need an getaway at least every now and again from the daily grind. You could go to an spa or book an excursion on a weekend. In either case, the objective is to take time for yourself.
  • Find a balance between work and life. As previously mentioned in our article burnout caused by stress is a result of working long hours, overworked and not having much vacation or time for leisure time.3
  • Find a new hobby. They can be very beneficial to wellbeing and can ease stress. It could be stimulating your brain with a game or curling up with good read or tapping into your artistic side by painting, or taking part in an activity that is physically demanding, such as cycling, hobbies allow people to unwind their minds and connect with their inner self.

Social Support

Being surrounded by people you love and who are friends with you can add positive energy to your daily life. Your loved ones are also able to provide assistance whenever you require it:

  • Engage in a Social life. You should make sure to get out and relax every each and every now and then. Spending time with people you care about and make you smile is a fantastic method of reducing stress.
  • Talk to a loved person. Sometimes just ” talking it out” helps to manage the impact of stress. When you feel overwhelmed you might want to think about getting advice and support from someone you love and are able to trust. A conversation with a loved one could help you understand what is making you feel more stressed and can give you at ease by sharing your worries.

A Word From Verywell

If the symptoms mentioned above occur and disappear do not make a hasty conclusion. The body can react in different ways to alert you that you need to take an occasional break. Therefore, it’s important to control stress levels and when you start to feel physical symptoms, try some of the techniques mentioned in the article. If you experience any of these symptoms that persist, don’t let them go and consult an expert in healthcare.

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