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The Top 10 Signs of 'Stress'

The wisdom of the body/mind isn’t subtle in expressing itself. It is constantly sending out signals. Sometimes we listen: we eat when hungry, drink when thirsty and hopefully sleep when tired. But are we as responsive when the cause of our discomfort is stress?

Much of the time, when our body and mind are desperately trying to get us to slow down, we may pretend not to hear. But the symptoms of stress are loud and clear:

The top ten symptoms of stress are:

1. Insomnia

2. Headaches

3. Neck/back pain

4. High blood pressure

5. Shortness of breath

6. Gastrointestinal problems (constipation, diarrhea, gas, abdominal pain, heartburn, reflux)

7. Irritability

8. Fatigue 9. Menstrual irregularities 10. Tearfulness

If you were to look up the top selling prescription and over-the-counter medications, you would find that almost all treat symptoms that exactly match these stress symptoms. This can only mean one thing; our bodies are doing their best to send us a clear signal that we need to look at and address something in our lives, in order to take better care of ourselves. This is usually the meaning behind stress symptoms. Yet we tend to treat the symptoms with medication, rather than identifying and managing the causes of the stresses themselves.

A headache? Ibuprofen. Fatigue? Coffee, tea or an energy drink. GI symptoms? Antacids or proton pump inhibitors. These various pills do work. They often make the symptom better or go away entirely.

But what is missing in this equation is the notion of stress prevention. What is making a given symptom temporarily go away is not necessarily what is best for the body/mind. What the body/mind sometimes needs is for us to figure out why that symptom is happening in the first place and to then take some action to address it.

When you have a tension headache, your body is telling you that it needs something; it needs more sleep, or less anxiety about your job, or a more considerate partner for example. When you have acid indigestion, the body/mind is perhaps communicating that it needs less caffeine, a shorter workday or maybe even some fun. The solutions to our stressors are unique to each individual and their own particular situation. Only we can truly figure out what we need and this is only possible by really getting in touch with and listening to ourselves.

The next time you experience one of the "top ten" causes of stress perhaps take a moment to stop and listen and consider that your body/mind may be trying to tell you something. If possible stop, sit still, become aware of your breath and the sensations in your body. See if you can give yourself the time to really tune into how you and your body are feeling in that moment. From here it is possible that if you ask quietly and listen patiently, your body/mind may take the opportunity to communicate its infinite wisdom, about what it really needs, directly to you.

If you would like to discuss anything in this article or if you would like some information on how CranioSacral Therapy can help ‘to open the communication doorway’ between you and your body/mind, feel free to call me on 087-9704084 or via e-mail at

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