Stress is a part of everyday life. We all experience it at times, but when stress becomes overwhelming it can start to affect your body in many ways. Stress can impact your body, your mind, and your behavior in ways you may not realize.

First, let’s discuss the different types of stress. There are generally three types of stress that people experience:

  • Acute Stress
  • Episodic Acute Stress
  • Chronic Stress

Types of Stress

Acute stress is something that everyone experiences. It is the way your body reacts to new situations, challenges, or scary situations. This type of stress is usually short-term and temporary, and you overcome it as you overcome the situation causing it.

Episodic acute stress is what happens when you experience acute stress frequently. This can be caused by anxiety, or if you often find yourself worrying about things that might happen. This type of stress is usually more intense and may require you to seek help in learning to manage it.

The third type of stress is chronic stress. Chronic stress is when you have high levels of stress for a long period of time. Chronic stress can be the most harmful to your help. This type of stress can lead to anxiety, depression, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Stress and the Body

All types of stress can have a physical impact on your body and health. The more severe the stress, the more severe the toll it takes on your body. One of the common ways stress can show up physically is as a headache.

Stress can also cause aches throughout your body. Muscle aches and pains, especially in the back and neck, can be caused by stress. These physical aches can also come with feelings of fatigue or tiredness.

Another thing that can contribute to aches and fatigue is trouble sleeping, which is a common side effect of stress. This can come from struggling to get to sleep, struggling to stay asleep, or not getting the restful night of sleep you may be used to.

On top of headaches, muscle aches, and tiredness, stress can impact your appetite too. Often stress can also cause stomach aches. You may feel your stomach in knots, butterflies, or feeling uneasy.

Stress and the Mind

Stress doesn’t only affect your body. It can also cause mental distress. One of the most common mental impacts of stress comes in the form of anxiety. In fact, not only does stress cause anxiety, but anxiety can also worsen stress.

Another common sign of stress impacting you mentally is the feeling of being overwhelmed or struggling to focus on tasks. In addition to feeling overwhelmed, you may also find yourself feeling irritable or cranky.

In some severe cases, stress can also lead to more serious mental health problems like depression and anxiety. Chronic stress and episodic acute stress are the forms that most commonly lead to these more severe impacts and may need medical and psychological treatment.

Read more about Making Stress Management Manageable

Stress and Behavior

With stress affecting your body and mind, it shouldn’t be surprising that stress also affects your mood and behavior. We discussed how stress can cause irritability, but that can escalate to angry outbursts. In addition to the possible depression and anxiety that stress can cause, it can also lead you to withdraw from social situations.

Stress can have a huge impact on your health both mentally and physically. The effects of how stress impacts your body can also lead to a downward cycle. This makes it extremely important to learn how to manage stress and develop ways to cope with it.

At EPIC we have caring providers who can help you cope with the physical impacts of stress, and behavioral health specialists who can help you develop ways to cope, and learn to handle all types of stress.

For a personalized counseling session, schedule an appointment with EPIC Health experts today!