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Dangers Of STRESS--And How To Deal

Too much stress may be affecting you more than you realize. Read on to find out how you can identify your stress spot.

You may think that stress starts in the head, but in reality it's something that can strike at your health from any angle. "Every woman seems to have a specific part of her body where she repeatedly feels the effects of stress," says Donnica Moore, MD, president of Sapphire Women's Health Group in Far Hills, New Jersey.

The Most Common Stress-Related Problems

People often claim to experience headaches, upset stomachs, lower back pain, and sore throats. "We don't know exactly why it happens, but if you ask people to identify their stress-related Achilles' heel, they can often name one recurring ailment," Dr. Moore says.

How To Pinpoint Your Stress-Sensitive Spot

"Ask yourself if there is a particular area of your body that tends to give you trouble and think about when the symptoms occur. If the problem can be linked to situations like high-pressure work meetings or emotionally charged family gatherings, and if it typically gets worse when you try to ignore it, it may be stress-related," says Dr. Moore.

It's Important To ID Your Vulnerable Area

That way, when you feel a symptom coming on, you'll recognize that you need to unwind and take preemptive action (e.g. taking ibuprofen to ward off a headache). "The goal," says Dr. Moore, "is to use this symptom as a wake-up call, so you can change your circumstances or take other measures to reduce your anxiety."