This Is What Stress Physically Feels Like

04/21/2015 08:30 am ET | Updated May 15, 2015

stress

Can we all just release a collective sigh over how annoying stress is?

Beyond the inconvenience of feeling stressed out, regular bouts of anxiety can seriously mess with your health. Persistant, daily stress can lead to increased risk of chronic diseases, heart problems and changes in the brain. Workplace stress also results in approximately $125 billion to $190 billion in U.S. healthcare costs each year.

A little stress is inevitable -- and luckily there are ways to reduce it -- so we can all take solace in the fact that we're not alone in feeling this way. We asked our social community to explain what stress physically feels like for them and illustrated some of their responses. Although worrying is universal, the experience isn't exactly one-size-fits-all.

"Like a huge knot in my stomach." -- Norine Stauske (via Facebook)

"It feels like being caught in a tsunami; the rolling of the wave keeps you from figuring out which direction to swim." -- Larissa Valkyrie (via Facebook)

"I feel like a shark bit me in the stomach." -- Edu Gonzalez (via Facebook)

"For me stress is like a hazy fog that is so thick it literally slows me down." -- Melissa Petitt (via Facebook)

"It feels like the walls are closing in. A vice grip on my body." -- Carol Smitherman-Marques (via Facebook)

"A volcanic mountain close to eruption [with] lots of pressure building up. Everything is amplified around me." -- Rhonda DeEtte Dostal (via Facebook)

"Stress feels like carrying around a mental cinderblock. You can hold it for a few minutes and not get tired (an actual cinderblock weighs 28 pounds) but if you carry it around for an hour it will fatigue you, carry it around for a day it will hurt you, continue to carry it long term and it can literally kill you." -- John Brubaker (via email)

"I feel like I am an Egyptian mummy wrapped all over and the pyramid is put on top of me." -- TC Bahar Ergun Tunc (via Facebook)

"It feels like a weight on my shoulders, gravity pulling me down and a sense of dread." -- Cherrie L. Page (via Facebook)

"Stress is like being hugged by a giant." -- Monica Mercedes Perez Jimenez

What does stress physically feel like to you? Share your experience in the comments below.

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