Headaches are the first and most common sign of stress. Stress tightens the muscles of the neck and back which in turn affects the flow of blood to the scalp and brain. Did you know that the scalp is a muscle? It is, and is connected to the muscles of the neck. When they get too tight it literally pulls on the scalp muscles and causes pain. How many of you checked have headaches once a week? Or twice a week? Or every day? While many of you think that it is normal to get frequent headaches, I want you to realize that only a handful of headaches each year is considered normal. It is however very common to get headaches. But if we were to find a dozen or so people who had pneumonia, would you consider it normal? Headaches are your body’s way of telling you that you are under stress. Taking pain relievers only makes it worse.
Pain in the neck or lower or mid back is the second most common sign of stress. When you feel tense do you rub your bicep? Or you forearm muscles? You don’t say “It must have been a tough day at the office, my bicep is killing me!” Our larger back muscles are more susceptible to stress and tighten because of it. Think how many times you reach up to your shoulders and try to rub the tension out of them.
Fatigue is the next sign of stress. This is also so common that it is considered normal. But it is common because so many people are living lives which are too stressful and too full that many people feel fatigued nearly every day. Do you wake up feeling like you must drag yourself out of bed in the morning, or need a pick me up in the middle of the day, or feel like you can’t make it through the day without a nap? Do you spend part of every weekend “catching up on sleep”?
Next blog we’ll look at ways to mitigate stress. Meantime, a great article. 33 Secrets to a Good Night’s Sleep http://tinyurl.com/297fsme