The Danger Signs Of Stress

Stress is not always bad. A little bit of stress can be a good thing because it can help you to perform under pressure and motivate you to do your best. That would be good stress. Bad stress is when you are constantly running in emergency mode, which causes havoc to your mind and body. Can you recognize the signs and symptoms of stress in order to take steps to reduce its harmful effects?

The signs and symptoms of stress overload can sometimes be unnoticeable. Stress affects the mind, body, and behavior in many ways, and everyone experiences stress differently. Not only can overwhelming stress lead to serious mental and physical health problems, it can also take a toll on your relationships at home, work, and school.

The following list details some of the common warning signs and symptoms of stress. The more signs and symptoms that you identify within yourself the more likely it is that you may be headed towards stress overload.

  1. General irritability or depression. People under a lot of stress tend to snap at others more so than usual. Dealing with a lot of stress over a long period of time can also bring on depression as the person suffering from the stress is in a constant state of being overwhelmed.
  2. Pounding of the heart. Too much stress can lead to high blood pressure and heart attacks. If you feel your heart rate skyrocketing from stressful situations it could cause fatal and life threatening conditions.
  3. Dryness of the throat and mouth. If you go through a lot of stress of of the sudden in the form of fear, the throat and mouth will become as dry as the Sahara. When I used to run the rivers in a Kayak, our rule was if you can not spit before entering a rapid, get off of the river! It was a solid sign of being over stressed in situation that could be dangerous for everyone concerned.
  4. The overpowering urge to cry or run and hide. This one is self explanatory. If you are constantly under stress it is only natural to want to take yourself away from the situation in any way possible.
  5. Forgetfulness. It is a known fact that stress can severely hamper short term memory. If you find yourself often in another room and forgetting what you went in for, this could be a sign of stress affecting memory retention.
  6. Tendency to be easily startled. When you are on high alert from stress all of the time you will become jumpy and react to smallest disturbance. This is stress causing the body to constantly be in the flight-or-fight mode.
  7. Insomnia. Stress will wreck sleep on one of two ways. Either by insomnia because your mind is too busy racing to go quiet down and go to sleep or by even sleeping too much as a defense mechanism to escape stressful stimuli.
  8. Upset Stomach and other lower G.I issues. Stress can irritate the digestive system to the point of causing peptic ulcers, vomiting, and other unpleasantness.
  9. Accident proneness. I relate being accident prone on par with forgetfulness as I usually experience both at the same time when I am dealing with a certain amount of stress. Accidents do not necessarily mean automobile wrecks or broken bones, but more like knocking things over, dropping things, or spills.
  10. Loss of or excessive appetite. Stress can stimulate under-eating as well as overeating depending on how you are wired to handle stress.

There are more negative impacts to being over stressed to be wary of such as an increase of smoking (or starting), abuse of legal and illegal drugs, and alcohol and drug addiction.

Being over stressed for too long of a time can lead to serious health problems. If you are stressed out all of the time, it will disrupt nearly every system in your body. It can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, contribute to infertility, and speed up the aging process. Long-term stress can even rewire the brain, leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety and depression.

If you find yourself dealing with too much stress and you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, take immediate steps for self-care and to manage the stress and it’s impacts in your life.

Create time and space in order for you to relax. Do yoga, meditate, pray, deep breathing exercises, whichever you prefer. Make time to exercise as it is probably the safest and most effective stress outlet ever created. Watch what you eat and keep an eye on your sugar and caffeine intake as those both rev up the body even more. Lastly get plenty of sleep! When you are tired, you are prone to think irrationally which in turn causes more stress.

No two people respond to stress the same way so there is not a “silver-bullet” solution to managing it. No single method works for everyone or in every situation, so experiment with different techniques and strategies to see what works for you. Above all, focus on what makes you feel calm and in control and do that.

Stress is a killer. Identify it and take steps to get it and your life back on track and to minimize its harmful effects on your life.

How do you manage stress when things get out of control? Do you have a favorite or go-to method that you use?

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado

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