Stress helps us to survive, stay alert, and deal with everyday problems. It could make us spring into action at a moment's notice and in small doses it's actually healthy for brain. But what happens when you continue to experience high amounts of stress for days, months or years together, and allow the stressors to take over your life with little time to relax, rejuvenate and refresh? (Also read: Nutritionist on how to manage stress in a healthy way)

Well, stress in excess or persistent stress can do the opposite. It could numb our senses, affect our productivity, problem-solving skills and make decision-making difficult. Apart from that, it could manifest in physical symptoms which could invite aches and pains, headaches, dizziness, muscular tension, high blood pressure, insomnia among a host of stress-induced health issues.

This leads us to think how to recognise if our physical symptoms are due to stress or any other reason. If symptoms like headache and unexplained aches persist for a long time and are not going away, you may try taking some time off and practice relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, talking to a friend, therapist and work at better time management techniques.

"Your body gives off all sorts of subtle signals that you might not be aware of. And sometimes, these signals can be a sign that you're under more stress than you realize. If you're experiencing any of the symptoms on a regular basis, it might be time to take a step back and assess your stress levels. By recognizing the signs of stress early on, you can take steps to address the issue before it becomes a bigger problem," says Dr. Chandni Tugnait is M.D. (Alternative Medicines), Psychotherapist, Life Coach, Business Coach, NLP Expert, Healer, Founder & Director - Gateway of Healing.

Dr Tugnait in an interview with HT Digital talks about the five hidden signs of stress to watch out for:

1. Unexplained aches and pains: Stress can cause muscle tension, which can lead to pain in the neck, shoulders, and back. If you find yourself experiencing more aches and pains than usual, it could be a sign that you're stressed out.

2. Trouble sleeping: Stress can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Do not ignore sleep deprivation caused by stress.

3. Frequent headaches: Stress can cause tension headaches or migraines. If you find yourself getting headaches more often than usual, it could be a sign that your stress levels are too high.

4. Digestive issues: Stress can wreak havoc on the digestive system leading to indigestion, heartburn, constipation, or diarrhoea.

5. Fatigue and low energy levels: When you're stressed, your body is in a constant "fight or flight" mode, which can lead to fatigue and exhaustion. Stress can make you feel tired and drained of energy. If you're feeling fatigued all the time, it might be a sign that your body is trying to tell you to slow down.

How to beat stress

"If you're experiencing any of these hidden signs of stress, it's important to take steps to reduce your stress levels. There are many different ways to do this, such as relaxation techniques, exercise, deep breathing, and time management skills. If you're not sure where to start, connect with an expert for support, structure & accountability. Taking steps to reduce your stress levels can help improve your overall health and well-being," concludes Dr Tugnait.

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