By now, you know what stress is, and you know what causes it.
But do you know the signs and symptoms of stress?
Before we get into that, let me restate that stress, in small doses, isn’t all bad.
In fact, it can be a good thing. Stress helps us overcome obstacles. Some people work well under pressure and are motivated by a challenge.
Positive stress (in small doses) can motivate you. It can focus your energy and enhance your ability to thrive in whatever environment you are in.
Stress becomes a problem when…
The human body is continually working to keep balance. Your body can recover quickly from positive stress, but with chronic stress, your body cannot maintain stability because the intensity or frequency of stress exceeds its capacity to cope.
Chronic stress feels unpleasant. It decreases performance and can lead to mental, emotional and physical problems.
Chronic stress suppresses your immune system and memory, promotes bone and mineral loss, muscle wasting and metabolic syndrome.
Why is chronic stress so bad?
When your body perceives a stressor, you immediately go into alarm reactions.
Alarm reactions ultimately lead to the production of a hormone called cortisol.
Too many alarm reactions can cause too many cortisol productions, and when cortisol production is too high, for too long, numerous health problems follow.
For instance, this might occur with the death of a loved one, followed by a divorce, coupled with legal, financial problems, and illness.
In these cases, you may not be able to adapt because the intensity of the stress you experience is too destructive.
Typically, you will not react to the actual stressor; it is the symptoms of stress that gets your attention.
Symptoms Of Stress
According to many studies, stress is now the most significant cause of illness in developed countries.
Many experts have concluded that signs and symptoms of stress can be split into four categories:
- Cognitive symptoms: Too much stress could affect memory and concentration.
- Physical symptoms: Low energy, headaches, upset stomach, aches, pains, and tense muscles.
- Emotional symptoms: Stress leads to mood changes, irritability, inability to relax.
- Behavioural symptoms: Loss of appetite and a change in sleep patterns.
It should also be noted stress does not affect everyone the same way.
The same stressor could be perceived differently depending on the circumstances or the individual.
The loss of a job for a single, young professional living at home with his family, who was planning to quit, is much less of a stressor than the loss of a job for an older, long-term employee whose family depends on her income.
Stress means different things to different people.
How one experiences stress depends on internal resources and overall perspective. This is where stress management comes into play.
However, typical stress management does not work long-term for some people.
If that is the case, you may need a more advanced system to manage the stress storm, so you can change directions and head toward success.