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Common Side Effects of Stress

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Health writer | Editor | Public Health Researcher

Stress is not a new thing to human beings. As the world continues to evolve, sustaining an appreciable standard of living entails putting in hard work and energy to succeed in our various endeavours.

Irrespective of age, each person has their individual challenges and goals which are worth working towards. This is where stress comes in.

When not well managed, stress can interfere with everyday functioning. While stress often occurs in the pursuit of one’s goal, it can work against a person if care is not taken.  

What is Stress?

Stress has to do with a state of physical, mental and emotional tension or strain. As adults, whether young or old, stress can come from the pressure to perform well in school and other related activities, job search, career building, finances, parenting, marriage, etc.

It is difficult to find someone who has not experienced some level of stress at one point of their lives or the other. Thus, it is safe to say that stress is part of life. It is absolutely normal to be stressed once in a while as life is hardly a bed of roses.

What matters at the end of the day is how one chooses to manage stress so it does not begin to affect productivity, mood, relationships and general well-being. If handled intentionally, stress can work for you in the achievement of your targets.  

However, when not properly managed, stress can work against you especially when it goes on for long periods of time.

The truth remains that most of the time, we are caught up with life’s activities so much so that one does not realise when they are stressed.

Therefore, it is pertinent to pay attention to your mind and body as they respond to the circumstances and situations around you.

Signs and Symptoms of Stress.

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Always paying attention to one’s body is very necessary to avoid being taken unawares. Thus, below are some signs and indicators that you may be highly stressed:

1) Frequent headaches

2) Unexplained Frustration

3) Anxiety

4) Sleep problems

READ: 5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Sleep Hygiene

5) Low sex drive

6) General body weakness

7) Digestive problems

Possible side effects of Stress.

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Source: Canva

Short-term stress is never a cause for alarm. However, when stress becomes too overwhelming without any sort of relief and metamorphosing into a long-term challenge, it is important to Seek Medical Help.

Leaving stress untreated or unchecked for a while can lead to the following side effects:

1) High blood pressure: The number one cause of high blood pressure is stress. Of course, we live in a very busy world with a myriad of work, business and family commitments here and there.

To make sure that one does not get overwhelmed and stressed out, it’s beneficial to find ways to relax from all the stress.

2) Cardiac arrest: Heart attack can also be a resultant effect of unchecked stress levels. To avoid being a victim, be intentional about how you take care of your heart health.

3) Sexual dysfunction: Stress affects the mind as well as the body which contributes to sexual frustration and dysfunction. This will further put a strain on your relationship with your partner. Thus, it is necessary to not let things go downhill before seeking help.

4) Depression: Long term stress can contribute to depression, a mood disorder that makes a person to feel overwhelmed with sadness and hopelessness. The impact of stress on depression is a serious emotional and medical challenge.

5) Anxiety disorder: Experiencing stress for a long period of time can trigger anxiety disorder in some people which is almost always a result of stress build-up.

6) Less productivity: Whether in the workplace, home, relationships, etc, stressed people exhibit a higher tendency to be significantly less effective and underperform in their roles.  Learn more about 5 Ways to Relieve Job Stress after Work.

7) Forgetfulness: Prolonged stress can impair mental abilities as it makes it harder for a person to concentrate and lock in new information or remember old information.

8) Irritability: Anger and irritability are common traits of people who are stressed.  So, if you notice that you get pissed off unnecessarily, it can be a tell-tale sign that you are stressed.

9) Fatigue: Decreased energy levels are associated with stress. Such mental, physical or emotional exhaustion are possible side effects of stress.

10) Chest pain: When a person is stressed out, the brain sends a surge of adrenaline and cortisol through the body. These hormones, then, trigger a rapid rise in the heart rate as well as blood pressure. The result is usually chest pain.

Practical Ways to Relieve Stress

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Source: Canva

Even though stress is part of life, one can make conscious efforts to avoid being overwhelmed. Some of the ways to achieve this is by doing the following:

1) Regular exercise: It must not involve serious workout or gym membership. Brisk walking, cycling, having an evening stroll, etc can help to relieve stress and make one feel relaxed afterwards.

2) Gratitude: There is always something to be grateful for. So when stressed, think about the good things in and around your life and be grateful for them. Gratitude helps you feel at ease, happier and relieved.

3) Have a daily To-do list: When overwhelmed by day-to-day activities, it helps to have a to-do list of your day even before it begins. It helps to adjust your mind and body for the day’s tasks.

4) Relaxation: Find time to rest and relax when you feel stressed. It can be in form of a nap, reading your favourite book, listening to a soft music, having a massage, etc.

5) Speak to a Healthcare Professional: If your stress is emotionally orchestrated, it may help to speak to a healthcare professional about your worries. A Doctor can help by offering advice, prescribing medicine or referring you to a therapist.


As earlier noted, stress is absolutely a normal part of life because life is full of ups and downs; and change is constant. Stress, therefore, remains the body’s way of responding to change in any given circumstance. If well managed, stress can help you to make adjustments to new developments or situations.

It can also make you put more effort to confront the challenges at hand as well as keep you on your toes. In this case, such stress does not stick for too long.

However, when stress becomes long-term without any sort of relief or deliberate management, it becomes a problem. So, it is important to always find ways to relax and let go of stressors whether physical, mental, emotional and otherwise.

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Ginika Oluchi Okeke

Ginika is the Lead health writer at KompleteCare. She also doubles as an editor and proofreader for everything that concerns content. When she's not writing content for KompleteCare, you might find her copy-editing works for authors before publication.

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