It’s the disease of our age. Perhaps it’s even worse than cancer because everyone has it, and we mean every human being. Its symptoms creep up on you, invading every aspect of your life, including your emotions, behaviors, thinking ability, and physical well-being. Stress can ruin your entire existence and lead to plenty of health-related problems. That’s why it matters to know the signs of stress and to make sure you keep your stress levels under control.
Emotional Signs of Stress
Stress is tricky because many stressed people aren’t fully aware of its effects on their emotions. So it helps to keep yourself educated about its signs and know how to overcome them.
Most people have bad days, or perhaps even a few rough weeks. As we move through our lives, we all experience many emotions. To feel anxious or overstressed is just part of the human condition. However, if this agitated state of mind persists, experts advise that you might be going through more than just a “bad day.”
A good indicator would be how often you have feelings of distress, how severe they get, and how long they last. The answers to all these questions can help determine your stress level. Read on for more information on its signs.
- Constant agitation
- Feeling overemotional and easily overwhelmed
- Apathetic attitude toward life
- Lack of energy to get anything done
- Feeling irritated at petty occurrences
- No sense of humor
- Frustration and loss of interest in life
- Sense of helplessness and impatience
- Excess anxiety, worry, guilt, and nervousness
- Increased anger and hostility
- Feeling overloaded
- Pessimistic thoughts or suicidal tendencies
Emotional stress is far worse than the tension you might feel after a bad day at work or a morning argument with your spouse. In addition to their inability to relax, emotionally stressed people might also experience a change in their eating habits and sleep patterns. They might sleep more than usual or experience some difficulty in falling asleep. According to research, stress can also lead to depression if left unmanaged.
Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, pessimism, and helplessness are all common reactions to stress, which are quite normal as long as they are temporary. However, you should be worried if these symptoms persist for long periods, especially if the reason for stress has passed. In such cases, getting professional help is usually the answer.
If your stress spins out of control, it could lead to even more psychological conditions, which include the following:
- multiple personality disorders
- anxiety disorder
- hypochondria (fear and excessive complaints of bodily disease)
Physical Signs of Stress
Physical stress is one of the most common types of stress that every human experiences at least once in their lifetime; it’s also quite difficult to deal with. You might think that a physical ailment is to blame for that nagging headache, your frequent insomnia, or your dwindling performance at work. Still, stress may be the underlying reason. To properly overcome it, you need to be able to recognize its symptoms:
- Low energy levels
- Poor concentration at school/work
- Frequent headaches
- Teeth grinding
- Elevated blood pressure
- Constant fatigue
- Chronic back pain, neck ache
- Joint pain and muscle spasms
- Cold or sweaty hands and feet
- Stomach pain, ulcers, heartburn, and nausea
- Diarrhea and constipation
- Palpitations and chest pain
- Diminished sexual desire or performance
- Increased or decreased appetite
- Abrupt weight gain or loss
- Increased smoking and alcohol or drug use
- Significant change in sleeping habits
- Persistent physical ailments and complaints
- lump in your throat
- difficulty swallowing
Several studies have examined the long-term effects of stress on the human body. Stress directly relates to other health problems, such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Stress keeps the body “revved up,” so it’s essential to learn how to relax. Prolonged stress can impact your health, so it’s important to develop your coping mechanisms to minimize stress’s effect on your life.
Other studies have demonstrated the effect stress has on the suppression of the immune system, making individuals more prone to becoming ill or changing the course of an illness if an individual is already ill. Research also suggests that stress plays a role in cancer and gastrointestinal, skin, and neurologic disorders.
Behavioral Signs of Stress
Stress takes a toll on your physical, emotional, and mental well-being, but it also heavily impacts your behavior and relationships with other people. The following signs are usually indicative of an overstressed mind:
- Social withdrawal and isolation, including decreased contact with family and friends
- Poor relations with work colleagues
- Sense of loneliness
- Diminished sex drive
- Loss of interest in social interactions
- Failure to relax at any time
- Severe changes in appetite, either by binge eating or skipping meals
- Procrastination and failure to complete any assigned task
- Excess use of caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, or drugs
- Decline in productivity
- Sleep disturbance
- Angry outbursts
- Inability to focus, even on simple tasks
- Difficulty in making decisions
- Inability to solve problems
- Memory problems and mental slowness
- Racing thoughts
- Confusion and distorted thinking
- Forgetfulness, disorganization, and confusion
Stress changes the way our brains work. Some people feel their thinking becomes clearer when they are stressed; however, as the brain becomes more hyperactive, your thoughts race in bits and pieces, and your judgment deteriorates. When the pressure builds up, it could become difficult to focus, especially on tasks that require complex and creative thinking. These tasks often require long periods of uninterrupted quiet.
Under stress, the human brain oversimplifies tasks and tends to jump to quick solutions. Stressed people can only focus on two things at a time instead of the bigger picture; they tend to disregard long-term risks and only pay attention to immediate ones. Their thoughts are distorted because they ignore and magnify information haphazardly.
Prolonged stress symptoms can seriously affect your body, behavior, feelings, and thoughts. The longer the symptoms of stress persist, the more stressed you become. Therefore, it matters to recognize the different signs of stress to manage it. Now that you have recognized the signs of stress, it’s time to look for ways to relieve them! Check out this link for more information. However, if you have done everything to control your stress but the symptoms continue, you should talk to your doctor!