9 Surprising Symptoms of Stress

Posted by Wayne | Monday, April 19, 2010

When was the last time you went through a period of stress? Can you remember the way your body reacted? Chances are you didn't feel quite like yourself. Health experts say that stress can come with some pretty surprising symptoms-from forgetfulness to nausea to skin rashes. Is your body sending you an S.O.S. that you shouldn't ignore? Read on to find out if stress is taking a toll on you-and what you can do to reverse the effects.

1. Tweaked Muscles
The pain in your neck that you attributed to long hours at the computer could actually be a symptom of stress. "Stress definitely affects our musculoskeletal system, resulting in tight, contracting muscles and/or spasms in muscles," explains Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD, MS, PT, a psychologist and physical therapist in Wexford, Pennsylvania, and author of A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness. "It gets us ready for fight-or-flight, although unlike our cavewomen ancestors, we don't actually need our bodies to react like this." If you're experiencing what you believe to be stress-related muscle symptoms, try this exercise: Take 5 to 10 deep breaths and focus on relaxing the tense area of your body, says Dr. Lombardo. For the neck, try gentle neck rolls or enlist your husband to give you a quick shoulder rub.

2. Eye Twitching
Have you ever had an eye twitch? The often temporary condition can be annoying and worrisome, and for some, can be triggered by stress. "This condition is known as blepharospasm," explains Debbie Mandel, MA, a stress and wellness expert and author of Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7-Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life. "Closing your eyes and visualizing your happiest place on earth will help." Also, avoid stress-related eye issues by giving your peepers a break now and then. "If your eyes get stressed from detailed work at the computer, 'stretch' them every 20 minutes by looking out the window at a larger landscape," suggests Mandel. "If you have no view, close your eyes and imagine a panorama."

3. Ragged Cuticles
Do you have ragged, unkempt cuticles or nails? Their condition could be the result of a stress-induced nervous habit. "Nervous habits like nail-biting are how we channel our stress by distracting ourselves with what is known as oral satisfaction," says Mandel, adding that picking nails and cuticles is also a common way for women to deal with feelings of stress and anxiety. If you take stress out on your hands, consider keeping a stress ball in your desk drawer-something you can squeeze or knead when on the phone with a difficult client, for instance. This helps "squeeze the stress out of your body," says Mandel.

4. Cavities
We all know that slacking off on dental hygiene is the first way to get cavities, but stress can also be a culprit, say experts, especially when you're grinding your teeth at night or during the day. Mandel explains teeth grinding, which many women do, as "chewing over the day's stressors." The problem, however, is that this bad habit can erode dental work, damaging your teeth and making them more susceptible to cavities. Mandel suggests redirecting your anxiety to pen and paper. "Set aside time to write down your problems to see them objectively in black and white, and then jot down some solutions," she says. But, she adds, "If teeth grinding is severe, see a dentist about getting a mouth guard."

5. Rashes
It sounds strange, but your skin can be a pretty good barometer of your stress level. "Stress can cause a rash, usually raised red spots or hives on the stomach, back, arms and face," notes Dr. Lombardo. "While we don't know why it occurs, some experts believe that it has to do with the adverse effects of stress on the immune system-histamine is released, causing these itchy bumps." Deep breathing may keep rashes at bay, or from developing in the first place. So, next time you feel your stress level rising, place your hand right above your belly button. "Every time you inhale, you want your hand to rise; with each exhale, it lowers. Take 5 to 10 deep breaths periodically throughout the day."

6. Nausea
Have you ever been worried about a loved one's (or your own) health condition, Googled it and suddenly felt nauseated? "Stress can upset the stomach, and nausea can be a byproduct of worry," says Mandel, who warns against playing "Google MD." Worrying about your health or a loved one's is normal, but obsessing about it is unhealthy. If your anxiety is causing nausea, try this trick that Mandel swears by: Let tepid water run over your fingers; it's believed to keep nausea at bay.

7. Sleepiness
Feeling sluggish? It could be stress. "Stress hormones cause your body to surge with adrenaline and then crash into sleepiness," says Mandel. "Stress will also ruin the quality of your sleep, so you wake up tired and irritable." What to do? Go to bed earlier, says Mandel, or catch a 30-minute nap midday, and don't feel guilty about doing so. "There is great productivity in rest," she says. "You come back more focused!"

8. Forgetfulness
Ask any woman who is trying to do it all and she'll admit to a few slip-ups in the memory department (forgotten appointments, lost keys, missing cell phone-ring a bell?). "Research shows that chronic stress can literally shrink the size of the hippocampus, which is responsible for some memories," says Dr. Lombardo. "Luckily, its size will go back to normal once your stress level reduces." Want to keep your brain functioning at an optimal level? Combat the first signs of stress with exercise, she says: "Go for a walk, run up a flight of stairs or dance around to the newest Black Eyed Peas tune." Exercise, she adds, keeps your brain sharp and may even help you be more prepared for future stressful moments.

9. Confusion
You can't decide what to make for dinner, what to wear to work or which exit to take off the freeway. Stress causes distraction and lack of focus, says Mandel. "Stress hormones lodge longest in the brain," she says. To restore focus, take a walk, she says. "Move the stress out of your body by exercising large muscle groups like the legs. You will gain clarity. Walk out in the light and you'll reset your natural rhythm while you move out the stress. Sunlight helps the body release serotonin to improve mood, and vitamin D helps you improve your immune system-a great perk."

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Adobe, the makers of the Flash animation platform, said Apple's refusal to run Flash on the iPad, iPhone and other products could hurt the company's bottom line.

The comments were part of an official quarterly report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

"[T]o the extent new releases of operating systems or other third-party products, platforms or devices, such as the Apple iPhone or iPad, make it more difficult for our products to perform, and our customers are persuaded to use alternative technologies, our business could be harmed," read the report.

The statement came in a section of the quarterly report outlining risk factors that could make Adobe's business not perform as well as predicted.

Like other Apple products, the iPad -- released Saturday -- does not run Flash, making some games and videos unusable.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has reportedly called Flash "buggy" and a memory hog. But there's also a financial aspect to the dispute.

Roughly three-quarters of the video on the Internet uses Flash, and allowing it on Apple products would give customers options other than applications sold through the official Apple store.

Fortune: Why is Steve Jobs Flash-obsessed?

The Adobe filing said it's hard to know what kind of products to develop when it's unclear what platforms will be able to run them.

"The process of developing new high technology products and services and enhancing existing products and services is complex, costly and uncertain, and any failure by us to anticipate customers' changing needs and emerging technological trends accurately could significantly harm our market share ... ," the report said.

Apple and Adobe have long traded barbs over the issue. While most computers in the United States and abroad run Flash, and many game developers write for it, the company clearly would like access to Apple's devoted and highly plugged-in customer base.

iPhone users, as well as those who choose other phones, frequently cite the lack of Flash as one of the phone's drawbacks.

Risk statements like Adobe's are a routine part of SEC filings. Even the rosiest predictions include a list of things the company thinks could possibly make it underperform.

Apple did not immediately respond to an e-mail from CNN.com seeking comment for this report.

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"Clash of the Titans" could be called "Cash of the Titans." The action tale set in the world of ancient Greek gods debuted as the No. 1 weekend movie with $61.2 million.

The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Sunday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Monday by Hollywood.com are:

1. "Clash of the Titans," Warner Bros., $61,235,105, 3,777 locations, $16,213 average, $63,890,110, one week.

2. "Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too?", Lionsgate, $29,289,537, 2,155 locations, $13,591 average, $29,289,537, one week.

3. "How to Train Your Dragon," Paramount-DreamWorks, $29,010,044, 4,060 locations, $7,145 average, $92,135,916, two weeks.

4. "The Last Song," Disney, $16,007,426, 2,673 locations, $5,989 average, $25,395,041, one week.

5. "Alice in Wonderland," Disney, $8,208,060, 2,980 locations, $2,754 average, $309,733,753, five weeks.

6. "Hot Tub Time Machine," MGM, $8,070,716, 2,771 locations, $2,913 average, $27,910,213, two weeks.

7. "The Bounty Hunter," Sony, $6,091,907, 3,118 locations, $1,954 average, $48,853,453, three weeks.

8. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," Fox, $5,302,369, 2,842 locations, $1,866 average, $46,013,347, three weeks.

9. "She's Out of My League," Paramount, $1,516,952, 1,390 locations, $1,091 average, $28,712,974, four weeks.

10. "Shutter Island," Paramount, $1,488,403, 1,356 locations, $1,098 average, $123,440,937, seven weeks.

11. "Green Zone," Universal, $1,248,395, 1,242 locations, $1,005 average, $33,118,420, four weeks.

12. "The Ghost Writer," Summit, $1,127,697, 656 locations, $1,719 average, $11,016,593, seven weeks.

13. "Avatar," Fox, $980,239, 511 locations, $1,918 average, $742,332,678, 16 weeks.

14. "Our Family Wedding," Fox Searchlight, $826,067, 722 locations, $1,144 average, $18,602,225, four weeks.

15. "Greenberg," Focus, $725,294, 186 locations, $3,899 average, $2,293,918, three weeks.

16. "Repo Men," Universal, $576,180, 873 locations, $660 average, $13,156,255, three weeks.

17. "Chloe," Sony Pictures Classics, $512,871, 339 locations, $1,513 average, $1,797,090, two weeks.

18. "Remember Me," Summit, $482,428, 906 locations, $532 average, $18,242,661, four weeks.

19. "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," Music Box Films, $455,977, 87 locations, $5,241 average, $1,438,838, three weeks.

20. "Hubble 3D," Warner Bros., $436,714, 40 locations, $10,918 average, $1,968,671, three weeks.

SOURCE: http://www.hollywood.com/boxoffice

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