We’re more stressed than ever.
In between the longer work hours, higher house prices and infiltration of screens, oh, I don’t know, everywhere – we’ve found ourselves in a perpetual state of stress; often without even realising.
We know that the odd pimple or ulcer may indicate that we need to find ways to unwind, but what are the more subtle signs that we’re actually completely stressed out?
So glad you asked.
You’re using these words. A lot.
It’s true. The language you use while stressed is different to the language you use when relaxed.
A recent study conducted by the University of Arizona, and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that stressed individuals use a heightened number of adverbs.
Those adverbs include words “so”, “very” and “really”. The findings also indicated that stressed people use less third-person plural pronouns, such as “they” or “their”.
The study noted that this may be due to the fact we’re less inclined to think about others when we feel under personal threat.
You’re craving certain foods.
Oh, how ironic that ‘stressed’ is ‘desserts’ backwards.
While some may lose their appetite when under pressure, for many it’s a problem of eating too much. Ever heard the term ‘stress eating’? Yep – that’s a legitimate thing.
Sugary and salty foods are often what people reach for when under the pump, but there’s a rather simple way to combat this.
Two studies conducted by the University of Plymouth found that interval training or regularly playing computer games, for example Tetris, interfere with the brain’s craving centre.
So go on, hit the gym. (Or your iPhone’s game centre. Yeah… do that.)
Listen:”People expect depression to be a sadness-everything in me was heightened” post continues audio.
You’re constantly thirsty.
Finding yourself drinking more than usual?
When you’re feeling stressed it can cause your adrenal glands – the small glands located at the top of your kidneys – to pump out stress hormones into your body. Adrenal fatigue can lead to a reduction in compounds that can affect your electrolyte and fluid levels, causing you to feel very thirsty.
Your periods are suddenly irregular.
According to a number of studies, stress can trigger ‘secondary amenorrhea‘ – an imbalance of hormones that causes you to stop menstruating.
While research is still being done investigating the exact link between stress and periods, it’s understood that bouts of stress suppress the functioning of the hypothalamus – eventually having a flow-on impact on the ovaries.
A study by Harvard University found that one way to combat this sudden imbalance is yoga. Gentle exercise like yoga has been found to reduce the size of the brain’s amygdalae, the region that processes fear and anxiety, physically reducing your capacity to feel stressed.