Post-secondary students know stress can make for a bad time, especially around exams. Yet they may not know just how bad stress can be.

Stress can keep you up at night and make it nearly impossible to relax and get the rest you need. However, that’s not the only way in which stress can take its toll on you. In addition to the mental anguish stress and anxiety can cause, there are a number of ways in which stress can negatively impact your physical health. If you don’t have a successful coping strategy for relieving stress, you may experience a variety of other health issues that can interfere with your studies and create a vicious cycle of stress that can be difficult to end.

For example, one of the most obvious physical effects stress has on the body is giving you a headache. This can make it more difficult to both concentrate on your studies and enjoy time with your friends and other leisure activities. Headaches may be triggered by stress on its own or by temporomandibular joint disorder – when stress causes you to clench your jaw unconsciously. This particular side effect of stress also can lead to neck pain, jaw pain or teeth misalignment.

When you’re stressed, you’re also at higher risk of insomnia, which means you’re not getting the proper amount of sleep each night. Getting sufficient restorative sleep each night is extremely important for overall health. If you don’t, you’ll lack the energy you need to be at your best in class and elsewhere. This can be a dangerous situation for many students. They may turn to drugs or alcohol to find relief from their stress and the associated health issues that can come with it. It can also lead to a cycle of depression, as many students may feel like there’s no escape from their stress and anxiety. Those feelings of helplessness can lead to them neglecting their physical health even further.

The mental effects of stress are serious, but they’re far from the only way in which stress can impact your life. That’s why having effective coping strategies for dealing with stress and anxiety is important for college students. This guide shows you some of the most serious ways in which stress can impact your physical health. Read it and see how your stress may be causing more problems than you know.

Author bio: Dr. Jeena E. Devasia, DDS earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia Commonwealth University with the distinction of summa cum laude. She has participated in multiple Mission of Mercy projects and is a dentist at McLean DDS

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