We are all affected by stress. Day to day we see symptoms of stress all around us. Financial obligations, parenting, work stress and challenging relationships. Stress is everywhere. Although some stress can be a benefit, to much stress can literally exhaust you and make you ill not only physically, but mentally as well.
Your first course of action in controlling stress is to recognize the symptoms. This is not always the easiest thing to do. Stress occurs on such a regular basis that often times one has no idea how bad it has become until it’s too late.
Stress shows up in the body as it reacts to different situations. When you feel threatened, a chemical reaction occurs in your body that allows you to act without thinking about it. This is referred to as "fight-or-flight,” and also know as the "stress response". When this occurs it is common for your heart rate to increase, to breathe faster, for muscles to tighten and your blood pressure to increase. This happens to prepare you to react if protection is needed.
Stress affects emotions, behavior, thinking ability, and physical health. There is no immunity to stress, but knowing what to look for can be very helpful. Following are a few symptoms you should watch for and pay attention to, and if they last for long periods of time make sure you receive help.
• Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody
• Feelings of overwhelmed.
• Not able to relax or seem to have a racing mind
• Feelings of low self worth, being alone, blue or depressed
• Avoidance of friends, family, or interactions with others
• No energy, low energy
• Gastrointestinal upset
• Headaches, body aches and pain
• Unable to sleep
• Constant colds and infections
• Low sex drive or no desire to have sex
• Jaw Clenching and teeth grinding
• Increased heart rate
• Always worrying
• Becoming disorganized and forgetful
• Lack of focus and exhibit poor judgment
• Only looking at the negative side of life
• Appetite change, stress eating or no appetite
• The feeling of being unable to take on responsibilities
• Over using alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes to cope
• Nervous behaviors such as fidgeting and pacing
Remember stress is a part of life. What matters most is how you handle it. The best thing you can do to prevent stress overload and the health consequences that come with it is to know your symptoms and work progressively toward reducing stress in your life.
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