Stress and anxiety is something we all deal with daily. There are many symptoms of stress and anxiety to watch out for. They are not all bad. Think of these symptoms as early warning signs. If you are aware of them, you are better able to manage their causes. This will stop your stress levels from becoming debilitating.
Stress is a natural reaction in our bodies. It derives from the fight or flight reaction hard-wired into us as an essential part of our evolution.
There are many different levels of stress, some quite natural daily signs which tell us to be alert. If we ignore them, they may continue to escalate. And that is when problems arise.
Excessive stress causes all manner of health problems, and can even be a killer.
Keeping an eye on your stress levels is common sense, but unfortunately, common sense does not always prevail.
We have listed the most common symptoms of stress and anxiety. Take a few moments to reflect on whether you are experiencing any of these, and how severe the symptoms are. How long have you been aware of them?
If any of these are elevated or have been with you over a long period, it is time to think about doing something about it. Tackle the underlying cause it spirals out of control.
The solutions for this are many and varied and beyond the scope of this article. Our purpose here is to have you look at your stress and anxiety symptoms to see if they need addressing.
Common Stress and Anxiety Symptoms
Unexplained Aches And Pain About The Body
A little pain here and there is normal and is nothing to get worried about unless it occurs too often. The trend is a key indicator. Is it new or recurrent over a long period? Does it fluctuate with stressful situations?
Muscular pains usually occur around the back, neck, or shoulder areas. These might result from poor posture, especially when doing computer-based work. Other causes include poor sleep patterns. Medication to treat the pain many only yield temporary relief, and should not be a long term solution.
Frequent Colds And Infections
High stress levels have a negative effect on your immunity.
As your body perceives stress, your adrenal glands make and release the hormone cortisol into your bloodstream. Often called the “stress hormone,” cortisol causes an increase in your heart rate and blood pressure. It’s your natural “flight or fight” response that has kept humans alive for thousands of years.Premierhealth.com
With elevated stress levels cortisol production increases. This in turn suppresses your immune system, making your body more open to infection. This can be especially troublesome during flu season. One precaution you can take is to increase your intake of anti-oxidant foods such as berries, nuts, and green leafy vegetables.
Poor Sleep Patterns
When overstressed your sleep patterns are amongst the first early warning signs. Insomnia and difficulty sleeping are common indicators. Cortisol recruits the neurochemicals adrenalin and noradrenalin, which enhance awareness, and energy levels. This is another aspect of the fight or flight reaction.
Having a decent dose of ‘get up and go’ attitude is useful in the mornings, but not at night when you should be unwinding. Any stimulants such as coffee will exacerbate this, so you should be careful about these later at night.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is another sign of stress and anxiety to watch for. This adds strain on your heart and blood vessels, increasing your risk of heart attack or stroke.
It can also be a cause of heart and kidney disease and some forms of dementia.
Loss Of Sex Drive
Stress will reduce your levels of testosterone. This in turn impacts your sex drive, in both men and women. Remember how much more sex you had the last time you went on holiday? Cortisol and testosterone have are inversely correlated. As your cortisol levels go up, your testosterone (and sex drive) go down.
Frequent Outbursts Or Mood Swings
When you are highly stressed, there is a higher chance are that you will lash out at anyone who irritates you. If you find yourself subject to this type of outburst, or subject to wild mood swings, this indicates that something is out of balance.
This is not normal behavior, especially if you are generally level headed. It is another symptom of stress and anxiety. It may be best to reduce your work load and spend more time with family and loved ones to give you a chance to relax.
Depression Or Feelings Of Inadequacy
It can be difficult to maintain positive self-esteem when you have high levels of stress. Stress will affect your emotional well-being and can decimate relationships with loved ones or colleagues. You are likely to be irritable, pick fights, or feel pressure to perform.
If you are feeling inadequate and begin questioning yourself, you may want to consider your stress levels. One of the most telling symptoms of stress and anxiety is reduced self-worth. This can lead to depression, anxiety, or feelings of disappointment.
If you experience one or more of these symptoms of stress and anxiety, the first thing to do is to reflect on your life. Take a step back and consider the frequency and severity of these symptoms.
With what frequency are they recurring? Can you make an association with your workload or any personal issues you may be facing?
Perhaps it is time to make some changes in your life. Reduce the burden you carry. Maybe a short break will defuse it. You might only need a short vacation, weekend getaway, or a simple trek in the great outdoors. Or you might need a larger change.
Only you will be able to determine which solution will work best. The important thing is to keep a check on these symptoms of stress and anxiety. Remain vigilant and be conscious of the impact they are and can have, on your life.
Let us know what stress is doing to you, and how you are handling it. It’s a common problem, and the more we discuss it, the better able we are to deal with it.
Feel free to ask me any questions you might have. I read all comments and answer all questions.
Kate Young – Well-Being Writer for SuccessToro.com