Stress is the body’s natural response to something that it sees as a threat. Whenever you are confronted with a dangerous situation, whether that danger is real or imagined, the body turns on its stress response. It’s supposed to protect you from whatever danger you are dealing with by making you more focused, alert and energetic so that you can figure out how to react to the problem, quickly and safely. For example, it can cause you to quickly stop short when you are crossing the street and a car comes speeding down the road, or allow you to figure out how to react to and deal with a loud noise that you hear in the middle of the night.
While in small doses, stress may be helpful, if you experience too much stress, it can be a bad thing. High levels of stress have been linked to a number of severe conditions, including high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, stroke, irritable bowel syndrome and a weakened immune system. Since high levels of stress can be damaging, it’s important to know how to identify symptoms associated with it, and to know how to properly handle stress-related symptoms when they do arise.
1. Rapid heartbeat
One of the symptoms that is most often associated with heightened stress is an increased heart rate. When you’re confronted with a dangerous situation, you probably notice that your heart suddenly starts pounding. That’s because the stress response is triggering the heart to pump more blood in order to help you become more aware, alert and energized. Usually, after the danger has been confronted, the heart rate will slow; however, if you are under chronic stress, your could experience a rapid heartbeat too often, which could lead various health problems, such as hypertension, a heart attack or stroke.