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© 2018 by Nisha Jackson

*this degree is from an unaccredited college and is not approved for use in Oregon

  • Nisha Jackson, PhD

It’s Not All in Your Head: Why Stress is a Physical Challenge

We associate stress with feelings of emotional distress, but it can also manifest itself in very physical ways. I know firsthand that when I’ve been extremely stressed, I have felt it all over my body – my joints can literally ache and I can struggle to sleep.


The root causes of this discomfort can be traced back to a hormone you’ve likely heard of before – cortisol, the primary hormone called upon for stress. When it becomes too low, you can quickly find yourself feeling exhausted and unable to physically meet the day’s demands.

Headaches and fatigue are just some of the emotional problems that can begin to set in when stress goes unaddressed. But just as stress manifests itself in physical forms, you can also take steps through your body to tackle it – even if you are by nature a worrier or still mentally grappling with a tough situation.


Exercise is an obvious key to addressing your body’s breakdown. Moving around in any capacity is a wonderful step toward shedding the tension in your body. I’ve studied the body and mind’s reaction to stress throughout my career and I’ve truly never found anything else that works as well as working up a sweat in alleviating irritation and frustration. If you find yourself struggling to stay focused and feeling the physical stress of toll wearing on you, I highly suggest adding regular daily body movements to your routine – you will inevitably begin to feel better.


What steps do you take to address the physical symptoms of stress? How has your exercise routine helped you to live a life of greater wellness?


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