8. Muscle Aches and Pains
Other muscles that can suffer from the strain of tension include the muscles of the jaw and shoulders. Relaxation techniques that may help relieve muscle tension include mindfully working your way from your head to your toes, alternately clenching and releasing groups of muscles. University of Michigan Medicine advises tensing a group of muscles as you breathe in for four to 10 seconds, then relaxing those muscles as you breathe out. Relax for 10 to 20 seconds before moving down to the next muscle group.
7. Stomach Upset
Children seem especially prone to tummy aches when they are feeling nervous or upset. Dr. Rebecca Cherry of Rady Children’s Hospital points out that the nerves of the human stomach and intestinal tract respond to stress hormones just as the nerves in the brain do. Stress can lead to stomach aches, nausea, and diarrhea. Children are not the only individuals susceptible to stress-related stomach aches. Many a stressed businessman has gobbled down antacids in an effort to relieve the churning discomfort of stress-induced stomach pain.
6. Weight Gain
As stress triggers the excess production of cortisol, this hormone can stimulate your appetite, causing you to overeat. In addition to a false sense of hunger, it can be tempting to “feed your stress” by overindulging in high-fat or sugary comfort foods. Unfortunately, the weight gain that accompanies overeating may trigger feelings of self-loathing, creating even more mental stress. Anxiety and tension can also cause weight gain if they prevent you from exercising and getting the proper amount of sleep. Turning to alcohol to numb feelings of stress can also contribute to weight gain.