We use the Social Readjustment Rating Scale adopted from the Journal of Psychomatic Research to assess if you are at risk for stress.
Stress that continues without relief can lead to a condition called distress — a negative stress reaction. Distress can lead to physical symptoms including:
- Mood swings
- Crying easily
- Easily angered
- Poor concentration
- Constant feeling of time pressure
- Tension headaches
- Tight shoulder and neck muscles
- Teeth grinding
- High blood pressure
- Erratic or racing heartbeat
- Migraine headaches
- Stomach pain
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Frequent minor illnesses
Research suggests that stress also can bring on or worsen certain symptoms or diseases.
Not only can negative, stressful emotions lead to any of the above, it can also cause overeating or choosing unhealthy food. The body’s actual physical response to emotional or situational stress plays a starring role in metabolic health, even down to how and where we store fat.
Numerous scientific research studies have linked chronic, unmanaged stress levels with weight gain and obesity. Animal studies show that stress–induced secretion of cortisol, one of the hormones produced by the adrenal glands, increases abdominal fat. Similarly, a study involving postmenopausal women showed those women with high waist–to–hip ratios secreted more cortisol when exposed to a stressful activity and showed resistance to the hormone, an indicator of chronic stress, than lean women with low waist–to–hip ratios.
The connection between weight and stress is just one more good reason to take control of your stress levels. Chronic stress is known to compromise the immune system and has been directly linked to cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure. So, managing your stress healthfully could not only save your waistline; it could also save your life!