6 Signs Your Physical Ailments Could Be Caused By Something Mental

by Shannon Ullman

Like death and taxes, stress is unavoidable.

We're constantly told how stress is detrimental to our health and should be controlled, which only makes stress, well, more stressful.

Stress isn't all bad. It causes our heart to pound faster, our breath to quicken, our muscles to tighten and our senses to become sharper. Your nervous system prepares you with a flood of adrenaline and cortisol, ultimately increasing your strength and stamina.

Manageable and short-term stress has the ability to equip our mind with intense focus, prolonged motivation and detailed alertness.

However, chronic stress is unhealthy and has the potential to impact your entire body.

Essential functions such as your immune, digestive and reproductive systems feel the release of stress hormones. Throw age into the mix and it can cause issues like heart attacks and strokes.

Regulating stress levels and monitoring your tolerance to anxiety-filled situations can help prevent serious physical and mental health problems.

Here are a few mild stress-related triggers  you need to pay attention to.

Nonverbal “Tells”

Body language has the unique power of exposing true feelings if self-awareness is absent. These revealing non-verbal “tells” help others communicate with you better, but they can also be used as an insightful way to acknowledge your current stress levels.

Though nonverbal tendencies are also influenced by the context of the current situation, others can detect subtle signs of stress whether we want them to or not.

These include things like wrapping your feet around the legs of a chair for comfort and  blood flow moving to your core, which results in a pale face.

Neck Muscle Tightness

Goosebumps are triggered by the contraction of arrector pili muscles attached to hair follicles. Stressors cause that spooky feeling of “hair raising on the back of our neck,” which results in a common behavior of rubbing the back of the neck to soothe.

When your neck is tense, it's often a tell-tale sign that it's time to take a look at how stressed you are and think of ways to minimize it.

Emotional Eating

We've all been there. A stressful event occurs and we take a trip to the kitchen with an appetite as large as Texas.

Jovana Rikalo

Healthy alternatives are ignored as you beeline for comfort food. Seeking relief and control through emotional eating is an obvious sign of stress.

However, this ingrained habit is simple to detect and possible to stop. Practicing mindfulness will help place focus on the issue at hand and help you notice when your stress levels spike.

Weird Dreams

Remember that morning you woke up from an odd, vivid dream that left you with a strange feeling all day?

This uncomfortable feeling is likely triggered by a restless mind caused by significantly stressful events. The random and jumbled thoughts caused by anxiety can lead to equally random and jumbled dreams.

Keep the importance of a good sleep in mind. It's vital to managing stress, and stress management will also play a key factor in reducing frequent nightmares.

Tooth Pain

Dentists are increasingly noticing signs of stress during patient examinations, as stress often manifests itself in our mouths.


Dental clinics are able to detect stress-related oral symptoms including bruxism, sores, gum disease and temporomandibular disorders (TMD).

Proactive behaviors such as regular appointments for oral evaluations with your dentist can help manage this painful side effect of stress.

Ears Ringing

Those suffering from tinnitus (constant ringing in your ears) tend to maintain elevated stress levels.

Combined research from University at Buffalo, Southeast University in Nanjing, China and Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada discovered tinnitus is caused by a neural network stimulated by traumatic stress.

Their research focused on the correlation between stress and tinnitus, noticing it disappeared once a patient's anxiety disorder was resolved.

These are just a few ways to tell when it's time to finally take that staycation that's been on your to-do list for forever.

Stress can negatively impact your life in such crucial ways, but it is reversible. If you notice these signs, take the time to get the support you need to eradicate stress. Your body will thank you.