Not all stress is bad. We all go through it at different points. Things such as getting fired from a job or a death in the family will cause stress. But even positive things, such as a promotion, new relationship or new baby, can cause stress. The key is to make sure you balance out stressful times with times to relax. When you go through one stressful period after another, it can affect your physical and mental health.
Below are lists of some common symptoms of too much stress. See if you’ve experienced any of these in the past month.
- Change in bowel function, either constipation or diarrhea
- Shortness of breath
- Change in appetite, eating less or more than you normally would
- Headache, backache or chest pain
- Numbness anywhere in your body
- Muscle spasms, tremors felt in any muscle in the body
- Difficulty controlling your temper
- Irritability, anxiety or depression
- A noticeable negative attitude (either you have noticed, or others have told you)
- Feeling overwhelmed or out of control
- Poor concentration
- Little things have started bothering you that didn’t bother you before
- Crying frequently
What it means
- If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, try some stress reduction techniques, such as exercise, meditation, deep breathing or relaxation.
- If you feel you’ve experienced half or more of them, consider asking a healthcare professional to help you identify and deal with your stress.
Some ways to deal with it
If you prefer to deal with stressful or crisis situations head on:
Try taking an active approach to managing your stress.
- Write down your worries as they come up and then put them away. At an appropriate time, allow yourself thirty minutes to an hour to go over your worries and find solutions.
- Some signs of stress that you may experience include nervousness, butterflies in the stomach or tense muscles. Exercise can help you relieve your tension.
- Focus on exercise that requires your concentration, such as playing a sport rather than running or doing some meditation. Running or meditation will give you too much time to think about your problems while you are doing them instead of relaxing your mind during that time.
If you prefer to ignore stressful or crisis situations:
You may not be fully aware of your body’s reaction to stress if you avoid problems.
- You may need special help in recognizing your body’s reaction to stress. For example, biofeedback therapy helps train people to control muscle tension, blood pressure or heart rate.
- You may also need the help of a therapist or support group if a crisis comes along that you can’t ignore, such as the death of someone close to you or job loss.
- Meditation, reading, yoga, deep-breathing or taking a hot bath are effective stress reducers for you.
- Exercises such as running or swimming are also excellent ways to reduce stress.
These are just some ideas. What are some of the ways you use to deal with stress?