Recognizing that you are stressed is the first step to learning how to deal with stress. If you learn the warning signs that teach you how to know if you are stressed then you will have the insight to help you not only cope with this stress but take better steps to prevent the things that may cause it.
When we feel threatened our bodies respond by releasing stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, this is where the fight or flight response comes from.
This response is the bodies way of protecting us by helping us stay energized, focused, and alert in certain situations. So in an emergency, stress can help you by giving you extra alertness to react like slamming on the brakes to prevent an accident.
One of the scariest things about stress is how easy it can creep up on you and you may not even know the changes your body is enduring. Some of the Emotional, Physical, Cognitive, and Behavioral symptoms can be similar to other health issues making it hard to distinguish.
It is important to know the common symptoms of stress and to understand that you should never take even the smallest symptoms lightly.
Here are 8 common symptoms that may reveal you are stressed out.
1. Becoming easily agitated
If you are becoming agitated easily it may be a sign you are stressed. Extremely stressful or traumatic events can often trigger agitation in someone. On the other hand, fighting agitation can even cause more stress.
Tension can often start in your head. If you find yourself having headaches more often than usual, it may be a sign you are stressed. A stress headache is described as that dull pain, tightness, or pressure that you feel around your forehead or the back of your head and neck. Over the counter medicines may relieve the pain but there are some natural ways to relieve stress headaches.
3. Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind
Relaxing is a great way to help relieve stress but sometimes you may find it difficult because you can’t quiet your mind. I have found myself laying in bed at night unable to quiet my thoughts plenty of times. This may be an indication that you are a bit more stressed than you realized. There are some great ways to help calm your mind some include;
- breathing exercises
- listening to soothing music
- soaking in a warm bath
- writing in a journal
4. Low energy
Feeling tired lately? Fatigue is often one of the first signs of physical or mental exertion. With physical exertion, this is the result of a physical activity you did but with stress exertion, it is a mental exertion. This is caused by your thoughts and feelings that come from coping with stressful events. This type of fatigue is different from simply feeling tired, this is a chronic lack of motivation or energy. So the saying, “I am mentally tired” may be a very true statement.
5. Tense muscles
When your body is stressed it can begin to tense up. This type of tension is the bodies way of guarding it against injury or pain. So when you come home from a long day at work at and your muscles are tense it may be caused from the stress of dealing with the work day and not from sitting at your desk for 8 hours. Sounds like a massage is a needed.
6. Running to the bathroom more often
Have you found yourself having stomach issues which have made bathroom visits more frequent? This may be something you should really talk to your doctor about. Anxiety is actually known to cause digestive issues. So don’t just chalk it up to something you may have eaten because it may be a stressed tummy.
7. Trouble sleeping or staying asleep
Insomnia is a clinical term for those who have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep at night but did you know that stress may be the cause of most people’s insomnia. In fact, according to the AADA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America), 54% of men and 42% of women reported that stress had been affecting their ability to sleep.
8. Inability to focus
When you are unable to focus or think clearly there are a number of different health issues that may be contributing to your inability to think and stress is one of them. Relaxation techniques can help block out your brain’s inability to focus.
Signs and Symptoms of Stress
Here are more symptoms that indicate you may be stressed.
- Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and/or moody
- Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control or need to take control
- Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind
- Feeling bad about yourself (low self-esteem), lonely, worthless, and depressed
- Avoiding others
- Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation, and nausea
- Aches, pains
- Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
- Frequent colds and infections
- Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
- Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear, cold or sweaty hands and feet
- Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
- Clenched jaw and grinding teeth
- Constant worrying
- Racing thoughts
- Forgetfulness and disorganization
- Poor judgment
- Being pessimistic or seeing only the negative side
- Changes in appetite such as not eating or eating too much
- Procrastinating and avoiding responsibilities
- Increased use of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes
- Exhibiting more nervous behaviors, such as nail biting, fidgeting, and pacing
Though stress is your bodies natural way of dealing with a high demand, too much stress can take a toll on your body. Knowing the symptoms of stress can help you know when to take them serious enough to speak with your doctor.
Never ignore a symptom no matter how much it affects you. Something as simple as a headache can have a great effect on you in the future if you ignore it.
So do any of these symptoms sound familiar to you?