The Effects of Stress: How to Battle Against the Inevitable

Stress is one of the most disruptive and grueling things that can happen to a person. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, stress is the leading cause of disability in the United States. The effects of stress can wreak havoc on a person’s physical and emotional health and even lead to death.

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Several factors can contribute to stress, such as work, family responsibilities, money problems, and health concerns. The National Institute of Mental Health states that stress can affect people differently, depending on their personality and coping skills. Some people may become irritable or angry, while others may become withdrawn or depressed.

The physical effects of stress can be just as devastating as the emotional effects. Stress can lead to headaches, muscle tension, stomach problems, and insomnia. It can cause heart attacks, strokes, and immune system problems in extreme cases.

Stress can be a very destructive force in a person’s life. Learning how to deal with it effectively before it causes too much damage is essential. Here are a few signs to watch out for to check if your stress is already visibly damaging you.

Signs of Aging

One of the most common signs of stress is premature aging. When a person is under a lot of pressure, their body goes into “fight or flight” mode. This causes the body to release a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol has several adverse effects on the body, including breaking down collagen. Collagen is what keeps skin looking young and elastic. When it breaks down, the skin starts to wrinkle and sag.

Another sign of premature aging caused by stress is graying hair. Just like with skin, stress can cause the breakdown of collagen in hair follicles. This can lead to hair that is dull, dry, and brittle. It can also cause hair to lose its color and turn gray prematurely. Hair loss might also be a problem, especially when stress is combined with other factors like poor diet or illness. Fortunately, you can get the best hair loss treatment for men when you consult with a qualified hair loss specialist.

Weight Gain or Loss

Another common sign of stress is weight gain or loss. When a person is stressed, their body goes into survival mode and starts to store fat. This is because the body thinks it might need extra energy to deal with a stressful situation. For some people, this can lead to weight gain. Others may lose weight because they do not eat as much when stressed.

Changes in appetite, either overeating or undereating, can also be a sign of stress. People under a lot of stress may find themselves snacking more often, or they may not feel like eating at all. Depending on the person, this can lead to weight gain or weight loss.

If you notice that stress is already causing your weight to fluctuate, you should try to find ways to relieve your stress. This might include exercise, relaxation techniques, or counseling.

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Changes in Sleeping Patterns

Stress can also cause changes in sleeping patterns. People who are stressed may find it hard to fall asleep, or they may wake up frequently during the night. They may also wake up early in the morning and not be able to get back to sleep. This can lead to fatigue and exhaustion, making it even harder to deal with stress.

If you notice that your sleeping patterns have changed, you should try to find ways to relax before bedtime. This might include reading, taking a hot bath, or listening to soothing music. It would help if you also avoided caffeine and alcohol before bed, as these can make it harder to fall asleep.

Changes in Mood

Another common sign of stress includes mood changes. People who are stressed may become more irritable, anxious, or depressed. They may also have difficulty concentrating or making decisions. If you notice that your mood has changed significantly, you should try to find ways to relieve your stress. This might include exercise, relaxation techniques, or counseling.

If you notice that you are always in a foul mood, you can try to find ways to change your mindset. This might involve looking at the positive side of things, practicing gratitude, or setting realistic goals. It will be challenging to determine if your mood swings will change, but you can ensure stress won’t be a factor of it too much.


Stress can have several adverse effects on your body, both physically and mentally. Learning how to deal with it effectively before it causes too much damage is essential. If you notice any of the signs listed above, you should try to find ways to relieve your stress. Do not let it control your life. You can overcome it.


Author: Vanessa Rapisarda

Vanessa is a married, mother of three gorgeous kids. As a postpartum depression survivor, she writes about maternal mental health and wellness. She believes that speaking up about postpartum depression is one of the strongest things a mother can do to help raise awareness and end the stigma of mental illness.