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It’s not always possible to live worry free. Stress is a part of life, and it comes and goes like the tide. Sometimes, a little stress can even be good for you. Studies show that mild to moderate stress can push you to perform better, stay motivated and get more accomplished. However, if left unchecked, too much stress can take over your life and wreak havoc on your body and mind.

So, it is important to stay mindful of what causes you stress and how you can combat it. The usual suspects like anxious and racing thoughts, shoulder tightness, headaches are easily identifiable symptoms of stress. But sometimes, stress can show up in places you may not even know to look for it. The body and mind are intricately interlinked and sometimes signs of stress can show up in strange and unusual ways that you may not be expecting.

Here are 4 unexpected signals of stress you should watch out for:

1. Frequently throbbing muscles

We often attribute lower and upper back pain to poor posture from hunching over a laptop all day. But if it’s a constant ache and you can feel your muscles throbbing with pain all day, there’s a good chance that your body is trying to tell you it is under stress. The throbbing occurs when you clench your muscles unconsciously causing your body to feel the tension. This consistent tightness can restrict blood flow which in turn makes your muscles strained and tired, and throbbing occurs as your muscles try to get more oxygen and relax.

2. Constant feeling of thirst

Do you find yourself reaching for a bottle of water more often than usual on days when you have a lot on your plate? That’s because thirst and dehydration are your body's ways of manifesting mental stress. Extreme thirst is often misread as lack of sufficient water intake (and sometimes it is just that). But if you’re drinking enough water and still can’t seem to quench that thirst, it’s quite likely that stress is the cause.

3. You’re visiting the bathroom more than usual

If you find yourself running to the bathroom a lot more frequently than usual (even if you’re not drinking more water), that’s your body’s way of telling you to slow down a little. Stress can affect your gut and your bladder, and you may find yourself answering nature’s call a little too often. This can happen even with your regular intake of food and water, so that’s when you need to pay a little extra attention to what’s happening in your mind.

4. Unusual aches and pains

Stress has a way of increasing our sensitivity to pain. Feeling a lot of stinging after the smallest papercut? Or unusual pain in the knees or ankles after a short walk? Increased sensitivity to pain causes areas of the body to hurt a little more than usual when your brain is struggling to process feelings of stress. If you’re not prone to frequent pains, but find yourself dealing with unusual and unexpected aches (it can be in your arms, legs, headaches, or even stomach cramps), then you may want to give yourself a little break to relax and rejuvenate.

Stress has a strange way of manifesting itself in our life. When the mind is too occupied with stressful thoughts, the effects are sure to show in the body. Pay close attention to anything that feels unusual, physically, and try to trace the source of it through your mind.

To avoid frequent feelings of stress, remember to stretch regularly, stay hydrated, and engage in a mindfulness practice of your choice everyday. Simple habit changes that keep your mind and body calm, can go a long way in preventing the harmful effects of stress.

Any unusual signs you notice in yourself when stressed? Tell us in the comments! 

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