4 Ways Your Body Tells You It's Time To Chill TF Out

Your body is talking, and you need to listen.

Stressed woman with hand on head Claudia Barbosa | Pexels

These days, we all live with a degree of stress and anxiety in our lives. It's impossible to avoid in today's fast-paced, high-stakes world.

If you are stressed, tired, and have physical signs of anxiety, you're less likely to prioritize taking care of yourself, which can lead to worse problems down the road.

How can you sync up your mind and body to be the best you can be?

RELATED: 19 Quotes For When Anxiety Feels Completely Overwhelming


Here are four ways your body tells you it's time to chill TF out.

1. Migraines or tension headaches.

You might be grinding your teeth at night because of the stress in your life — whether at work, home, in your relationship, or with your friends. The stress and muscle tension can manifest as a migraine or tension headache the next day.

If you're dealing with these symptoms of stress, be nice to yourself, stay hydrated, and get plenty of rest. This might mean taking a few nights off from going out with friends this week, taking a relaxing bubble bath this evening, or leaving work a bit early, if possible.


2. Stomach issues.

You've probably heard the expression, "Listen to your gut". It turns out that following your intuition is true for anxiety, too!

If your tummy feels uneasy or you have a "butterflies in your stomach" feeling, anxiety might be to blame. This unsettled stomach sensation has been known to activate the fight-flight-freeze phenomenon common to anxiety, which can help us understand why we might be feeling like certain foods do not agree with us, why we are seeking the restroom more often than usual, or why we do not have the same appetite we used to have when we're feeling stressed.

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3. Tense muscles.

Have you ever wondered what was at the root of your muscle pain? It could very well be anxiety manifesting in a particular area of your body. As a therapist, I am trained to know that when I feel my shoulders creeping up to my ears (which means my stress level is increasing), it's time to make sure I take care of myself.

That's why I often ask my clients how they care for themselves because it's hard to feel happy and content when your body isn't getting the love and attention it deserves.

For example, while going for a massage might seem like a frivolous expense, when you have severe muscle pain, it can be a helpful way to relax and relieve some tension (among other therapies, like acupuncture, chiropractic care, etc.). I have talked with massage therapists who say many of their clients did not even realize how much tension they were carrying around until they were worked on.

You can also focus on loosening up these tense areas by stretching, doing yoga, and engaging in other mindful practices.




4. Fatigue and illness.

I work with professionals from various industries, and they often do not realize how hard they are being worked or how stressed they have become until it is too late: They are run down, anxious, overworked, and exhausted — and then, BOOM! They catch a cold or the flu since their body can't function at max capacity.

Not only can stress make you more prone to illness, but it also causes a lack of sleep. And while you may be used to running on empty, here's why you need to take note: Some sleep studies suggest that driving when you are exhausted is similar to driving under the influence of a substance or medication. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study found that those who sleep for less than 4 hours in 24 hours are 11.5 times more likely to crash than those who get the recommended 7 hours of sleep.

RELATED: 30 Reasons People With Anxiety Can't Fall Asleep At Night


Your beautiful, intelligent body can tell you just about everything you need to know about your overall wellness and mental state as long as you know how to identify and listen to the physical signs of anxiety it's bringing to your attention. Of course, you should consult with your doctor to rule out any medical issues first, but bodily cues can help you recognize your stress levels and encourage you to do something about it.

Stay safe and take care of your health by learning to recognize your body's signs of anxiety.

When it comes to anxiety and stress, remember:

  • Your physical health is critical to all aspects of your life — without it, you cannot function optimally.
  • Your body is a great communicator to your mind - you need to allow some space to listen when your body is screaming for attention.

The ultimate goal of recognizing anxiety in your body is not just intervening when you start to notice your body not being able to function as well as it usually would, but being able to participate in activities that promote healthy bodies and strong minds — like exercise, mindfulness, meditation, and healthy eating. By listening to our bodies, we can prevent ailments and promote wellness.

RELATED: Why Your Stomach Is So Sensitive & 9 Ways To Feel Better

Maxine Langdon Starr, Ph.D., LMFT is a marriage and family therapist specializing in adolescents and young adults, partner/owner of Sunflower Therapies, professor of psychology at Brandman University, and motivational speaker on self-esteem.