Do everyday stressors leave your pits soaking? Understand the causes of stress sweat and how to keep your cool.
What Is Stress Sweating?
Stress sweat is when your body sweats due to a nerve-wracking, tense or exciting situation. It's not caused by exercise, a hot day, or a medical condition. Stress sweat is an automatic, evolutionary reaction to stressful experiences.
What Causes Stress Sweat?
Stress sweating occurs when your brain perceives a threat (whether your boss's critical eyes or the eyes of a hungry predator), it triggers your fight-or-flight response.
Your sympathetic nervous system takes over, putting your body on high alert. The pituitary gland releases cortisol and adrenaline to recruit more energy sources, and you sweat to cool down.
Unfortunately, stress sweating is as easy as 1, 2, 3.
Increased Heart Rate
You start to feel anxious. Your heart rate and blood pressure spike.
Surge in Body Temperature
Your internal body temperature rises as your body prepares to fend off the stressor.
Stress Sweat and Odor
To cool down, you perspire and produce a noticeable odor.
Obvious Sweat Marks
When sweat pools around your armpits or back, those areas of your shirt take on a new color. Worrying about visible sweat marks also makes you perspire more.
Something small like an upcoming presentation or family gathering could trigger sweat and the embarrassment that follows. You might avoid stressful social situations like these altogether.
Unfortunately, the smell of stress sweat can influence the way others perceive your competence, confidence and trustworthiness, according to research.
It's not your imagination: Stress sweat smells worse than other types of sweat - and for a reason. From an evolutionary standpoint, putting off a strong, repulsive scent deters predators who are out to eat you.
But it's not the sweat that smells. When stressed, the apocrine gland produces a white, odorless fluid. When mixed with bacteria on your skin, it creates a potent combination - unlike the odor you experience after a brisk walk, which endocrine glands are responsible for.
Professional Upward Mobility
Stress sweat can destroy your confidence and hold back your career. One study found that participants who reported having more confidence in school earned higher wages and were promoted faster than those with lower confidence.
In other words, exuding confidence makes you appear more capable and can jumpstart your professional career. If stress sweat affects your confidence, your career could suffer.
How Do You Stop Stress Sweat?
There's no escaping stressors at work and everyday life. But when the pressure mounts, you need a way to cope to prevent stress sweat.
Here are some stress-boosting tactics that can help you stay calm when the stressors pile up:
1. Acknowledge Your Feelings of Stress and Their Source
You face stress every day - but do you ever talk yourself through it? Say or write the cause of your stress, and it won't seem so daunting.
2. Write a Specific and Actionable to-do List
If you're stressed thinking about everything that needs to get done, write it down. Visualizing your to-do list makes tasks seem more manageable and lowers feelings of overwhelm. Attacking your list will also provide some relief.
3. Try Deep Breathing
Focused breathing is an effective way to dissolve stress. But to reduce stress long-term, you need to dedicate 20 to 30 minutes a day to deep breathing. Take a long, deep breath, hold it for 5-10 seconds, release and repeat.
4. Reduce Decision Overload With Routines
Have a big week ahead at work? Stick to a morning routine so small, menial tasks aren't competing for mindshare and pushing you over the edge.
5. Do Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Feeling overwhelmed? Relieve stress and tension anywhere with progressive muscle relaxation. Close your eyes, tense each body part of the body (starting with your feet) for 5 seconds then relax. Once you reach your head, your nerves should melt away.
6. Listen to Soothing Music
Studies show that listening to music lowers heart rate and blood pressure and slows breathing. If you're stressed about a looming speech or interview, turn on your favorite tunes beforehand to stay calm and reduce stress sweat.
When dehydrated, your body produces sweat to cool you down. Extreme stress also dries out the mouth, so make sure to drink plenty of water if you're giving a speech or presentation.
8. Wear a Sweat Proof Undershirt
Does the idea of sweating stress you out? Eliminate this stressor by wearing an effective sweat proof undershirt. Thompson Tee's integrated sweat barrier completely absorbs underarm sweat and allows it to evaporate - so you forget you're even sweating.
Block Stress Sweat Guaranteed!
Stress sweating can quickly drain your confidence. But when you forget about your sweating and know others can't see it, the stress dissipates.
That's where the Thompson Tee comes in.
Thompson Tee co-founders Billy and Randy spent more than 10 years developing the only patented sweat proof technology called Hydro-Shield, which is embedded in the underarms of every premium Thompson Tee to fight sweat all day long.
This lightweight layering system traps heat and moisture and allows it to evaporate rather than seep through to your outer layer – providing relief from wet marks and yellowing that quickly destroy your clothing and your confidence.