Your ears are ringing
Ringing ears (aka tinnitus) can literally be a stress alarm. Many recent studies have shown that tinnitus is exacerbated (and sometimes even caused) by stress. Granted, 1 in 5 people suffer from tinnitus, and there are plenty of causes. But if you’ve been dealing with it, or it’s gotten worse lately, stress should be the prime suspect.
You’re gaining weight
There’s nothing quite like a quart of ice cream and a pound of bacon to calm the nerves. Evolution strikes again. Here’s how it goes: stress triggers the fight-or-flight response. The fight-or-flight response convinces your brain that you’ll be expending great amounts of energy fighting or running for your life. Your brain then releases chemicals that increase cravings for sugar, fat, and high calories (energy). Once digested, your brain then releases an opiate-like compound that basically get you addicted to these foods. Give in to this addiction for too long, and you’ll be busting at the seams in no time.
If you’ve noticed any of these signs (or several others), there are a number of ways to take control. “One of the most important things to remember is that stress is not the problem”, says Dr. Kathy Gruver, award-winning author and speaker. “We can’t control stress… but rather our reaction to it.”
Dr. Gruver reacts with two-minute “mini-meditations” in rush hour traffic, or positive self-affirmations during especially trying times. With the overwhelming scientific evidence for such practices, they’re definitely worth a shot (if only for your hair and waistline).
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Nicholas Knock is a freelance writer for Thrillist who loves all things Swedish. You can follow him on Twitter @nickaknock.