You Having Trouble Sleeping Well
If you find yourself waking up and worrying or ruminating over things, it could be a sign of anxiety or depression, says Dr. Colgan. After a long day, sleep should come easy and getting into bed should finally be a time when you can shut your brain off. If you feel tired but have a difficult time falling asleep, its possible you have stress-related fatigue.
What to do: Talk to your doctor if this is regular occurrence. Discuss whether your chronic stress may have led to depression, says Dr. Colgan. When youre not sleeping well, everyday annoyances might make you feel even more overwhelmed and frustrated because youre more vulnerable. A tired body is not well prepared to cope with stressful situations and ward off illness, says Tuit. She suggests addressing your sleep issues by asking yourself if youre getting six or more hours of sleep each night. If not, determine whats interfering with that. Cutting back on caffeinated and alcoholic beverages and increasing exercise can also improve sleep patterns, she says.
How Can I Identify Stress Triggers
For some people, it may help to try to identify what causes you to have a reaction.
Record or keep a journal for a week or two to identify which situations create the most stress and how you respond to them . Include a brief description of each situation, answering questions such as:
- Where were you?
- Who was involved?
- What was your reaction?
- How did you feel?
Taking notes can help you find patterns among your stressors and your reactions to them.
Next, review your journal. You might find obvious causes of stress, such as the threat of losing your job or obstacles with a particular project. You might also notice subtle but persistent causes of stress, such as a long commute, pace of work, many interruptions, or an uncomfortable workspace.
Reasons Why You Could Be Stressed About Nothing
The first three points are likely causing you to feel overwhelmed at times . The latter two are the probable results and are signs that the demands on you outstrip your resources.
And, lets face it, on top of everything else that could befall you in life, youre probably now also have to cope with the fall-out from the pandemic. Covid lockdowns, quarantines and/or closures with all their financial, social consequences are, of course, super-stressful with an inevitable impact on our mental health.
Then there are the less obvious things that contribute to you feeling stressed for no reason.
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You Rarely Take Lunch Breaks Or Coffee Breaks Even A Bathroom Break Is A Luxury
As a human being, you need decent food, sleep, exercise, and social time. Too bad your work self didnt get the memo. If you feel so pressured at work that even your most basic needs have fallen to the wayside, youre overly stressed, notes Stevan E. Hobfoll, Ph.D., chairperson of Behavioral Sciences at Rush University Medical Center. Luckily, science has the answers: Research shows that working out mid-day listening to music and just taking deep breaths can help reduce the production of cortisol.
Importance Of Recognizing Stress Symptoms
Its important to learn how to recognize when your stress levels are actually getting out of control. Stress is deceptive. It has its way of creeping up on you so you get used to it and you start to feel a certain sense of familiarity with it. If you are not mindful of your body, you may just be surprised to see that it has already taken its toll on you and has already caused a great deal of harm.
For instance, people who are constantly exposed to high levels of stress may think that they have grown accustomed to the pressure and high surge of adrenaline, but the truth is, there is no such thing as getting used to stress. When you thrive on stress, its just difficult for you to discern the symptoms of stress but this does not mean that your body is not responding to stress. Eventually, something within you will malfunction.
It is important to recognize stress before it actually develops into a serious health problem. And while stress affects different people in many different ways, there are certain factors and symptoms that are common among the general population.
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Worried You May Be Suffering From High Stress
Take our 2-minute stress level quiz to see if you could benefit from further diagnosis and treatment.
If you are experiencing any of these signs you may want to take action to reduce stress today. Here are some simple but revealing questions you can ask yourself to pinpoint areas for improvement or change. Asking the right questions can identify what improvements you can make to feel more relaxed and in control of your health.
Further Help And Support
If you think you might be suffering from stress your first port of call should be your GP. For additional support, try one of the following resources:
- Shout: Text ‘SHOUT’ to 85258 if you are struggling and a crisis volunteer will text you back. It’s completely free 24/7.
- Anxiety UK: a charity which specifies in helping those suffering from anxiety.
- The Samaritans: a charity providing support to anyone in emotional distress.
- Mind: making sure no one has to face a mental health problem alone.
- CALM: helping to reduce stigma and reduce rates of male suicide.
- Papyrus: contact for help and advice around thoughts of suicide.
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The Second Step: Looking At Your Life
Although less practical it is worth re-evaluating lifestyle and how working lives impact on our mental stress. It is not news to anyone that jobs cause stress but the physical effects from this can be surprisingly significant. For years I have been treating a patient with high blood pressure who required three separate medications together to control his blood pressure to a safe level. It was only when he took semi-retirement that his blood pressure came down naturally, and he is now medication free. In retrospect, he can acknowledge the huge effect his work was having. Working patterns, travel and workplace relationships all have an impact.
Occasionally medical help is needed with psychological physical symptoms. GPs are well placed to offer this. This could be in the form of anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medication or referrals into therapy. Cognitive behavioural therapy is used to treat anxiety, stress and depression and provides practical solutions for dealing with negative thoughts.
How Much Stress Level Is Normal
Stress levels are rated as 5 by adults. A score of 1 indicates little or no stress, while a score of 10 indicates great deal of stress, up from 4. In 2014, the number of people who claimed to be homeless reached 9. The level of stress reported by adults is higher than the level they believe is healthy . A 10-point scale is used).
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Everything Makes You Emotional
Everyone has days where a random sloth video on YouTube makes you cry. But if you’re walking this Earth like a timebomb of intense feels, snapping when your bae makes a dumb joke or getting extra annoyed at a teammate, something might be out. Like those times when you chill out afterward and think, Yikes. Who WAS that person?“When you’re super-stressed, the brain stem the primitive part of your brain takes over, and the part that anticipates outcomes goes dark,” says Hemmen. So what does that mean?! Think of it this way: Stress shuts down your filter AND turns up your tendency to act on instinct making your inner rage-beast bubble up in interactions where you’d normally feel fine.
How Can We Avoid Stress
Experiencing stress from time to time is normal, but it is important to prevent stress build up that leads to high levels of stress and possibly burnout. Some simple ways to avoid stress include finding effective ways to balance all your responsibilities, getting enough sleep, not taking on too much, eating a healthy diet, and taking part in physical activity.
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When To Seek Professional Help
Many teens arent able to say, Im stressed and this is the reason why. Therefore, their behaviors often signal how theyre feeling.
If you suspect your teen is struggling with stress, start a conversation about it. You may also want to teach your teen some simple stress management techniques.
If your teens stress seems to be interfering with school, family, household responsibilities, or friends, it may be time to seek professional help. Symptoms lasting more than two weeks could be a sign that your teen may have an underlying mental health problem, like depression or anxiety.
Talk to your teens pediatrician if you have concerns about stress. Its important to rule out any physical health issues and to discuss treatment options. A physician may refer your child to counseling.
How Can I Deal With Workplace Stress
There are many ways to be proactive when dealing with stress. Do not forget that elements of the workplace itself can be a cause of stress. Mental fitness, self help, taking healthy steps, stress management training, and counselling services can be helpful to individuals, but do not forget to look for the root cause of the stress and to address them.
Employers and organizations are encouraged to see these other OSH Answers documents about how to help prevent stress in the workplace:
However, in some cases, the origin of the stress is something that cannot be changed immediately. Therefore, finding ways to help maintain personal good mental health is also essential.
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Hair Loss Has Become A Real Problem
If youre finding more strands of hair in the drain or in your brush it could be a telltale sign of stress. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are three types of hair loss associated with stress: telogen effluvium, alopecia areata, and trichotillomania.
The first, telogen effluvium, can occur after significant stress pushes large numbers of hair follicles into what is known as resting phase. That means the hair is pushed out before completing its growth cycle. When this happens, affected hairs might fall out suddenly when you’re combing or washing your hair.
Meanwhile, alopecia areata can be caused by a variety of things, the Mayo Clinic explained, including severe stress. When alopecia areata occurs, the body’s immune system attacks the hair follicles, which causes hair loss.
And the last is Trichotillomania, which occurs when a person has an irresistible urge to pull out hair from your scalp, eyebrows or other areas of your body, the Mayo Clinic said.
Importantly, the Mayo Clinic noted, hair loss doesnt need to be permanent. Again, using stress mitigation techniques like meditation can help restore your head of hair in no time.
Your Sleep Schedule Is Wildly Unpredictable
Stress can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule.
Too much stress can cause you to have a bad sleep, leading to mental and physical health issues which can, in turn, cause stress in daily life, leading to poor sleep at night, the American Institute of Stress explained.
Remember those stress hormones mentioned above? Those same hormones can cause your body to stay awake as it thinks its now in fight or flight mode. And because your body can never quiet down, neither can your mind. On top of that, your daytime stress could be causing some odd dreams as well.
“When people had these really frustrating, upsetting experiences in their everyday , they had dreams where they felt stressed, sad or frustrated,” Netta Weinstein, a senior lecturer in social and environmental psychology at Cardiff University, and lead author of a study on stress and dreams, told Live Science. As she noted, stress can even cause very specific dream scenarios.
“The link between the experiences and the content of the dreams was less robust,” Weinstein explained. “But we found some evidence that falling, being attacked by someone, being locked up or trying repeatedly to do something and failing at it could be linked to a frustrating experience during the day.
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Help Is Available For Stress
Stress is a part of life. What matters most is how you handle it. The best thing you can do to prevent stress overload and the health consequences that come with it is to know your stress symptoms.
If you or a loved one is feeling overwhelmed by stress, talk to your doctor. Many symptoms of stress can also be signs of other health problems. Your doctor can evaluate your symptoms and rule out other conditions. If stress is to blame, your doctor can recommend a therapist or counselor to help you better handle your stress.
The Effects Of Chronic Stress
Your nervous system isnt very good at distinguishing between emotional and physical threats. If youre super stressed over an argument with a friend, a work deadline, or a mountain of bills, your body can react just as strongly as if youre facing a true life-or-death situation. And the more your emergency stress system is activated, the easier it becomes to trigger, making it harder to shut off.
If you tend to get stressed out frequently, like many of us in todays demanding world, your body may exist in a heightened state of stress most of the time. And that can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can suppress your immune system, upset your digestive and reproductive systems, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and speed up the aging process. It can even rewire the brain, leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.
Health problems caused or exacerbated by stress include:
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The First Step: Acknowledging The Issue
Getting the right help for psychosomatic symptoms involves acknowledging the issue as being psychological in nature. This can be the hardest part. Many of us can cope with the idea of having headaches from sinusitis but admitting they are caused by stress or worry can be difficult, perhaps because it makes us feel weak. There is still a stigma around mental health issues however minor, and it is almost easier in our society to disclose a physical health need rather than a mental health one. This often leads to patients searching for a physical cause for their symptoms with countless investigations and tests. This is not only costly and inconvenient for the patient but actually worsens the problem as it adds to the anxiety and stress.
You Experience Tightness And Tension In Your Muscles
Anyone else have a really tight and stiff back? When we are stressed, we tend to become really rigid and uptight rather than flexible and fluid.
What to do about it: Give your body some TLC! I love a deep tissue massage or acupuncture. If those arent possible options for you, try some stretching, yoga, or exercises to loosen things up.
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So You Feel Like Turning Japanese
Like the 80s English band, The Vapors, you might feel like turning Japanese, but of course you cant. You might not be able to move to Japan or even buy sushi where you live. But you could have your own amazing miniature Japanese doll house! This one is sold as a kit from Billy, a Japanese dollhouse company.
Managing Stress In Daily Life
Stress is not an illness itself, but it can cause serious illness if it isn’t addressed. It’s important to recognise the symptoms of stress early. Recognising the signs and symptoms of stress will help you figure out ways of coping and save you from adopting unhealthy coping methods, such as drinking or smoking.
There is little you can do to prevent stress, but there are many things you can do to manage stress more effectively, such as learning how to relax, taking regular exercise and adopting good time-management techniques.
Studies have found that mindfulness courses, where participants are taught simple meditations across a series of weeks, can also help to reduce stress and improve mood.
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Physical Symptoms Of Stress: What Your Body Is Trying To Tell You
Dr Ellie Cannon on the very real effects your stressed or anxious mind can have on your physical body.
How can stress and anxiety actually cause physical symptoms in your body?
The simple answer is: very easily.
Many of us don’t realise when it’s happening, but this occurs all throughout our lives: even as children, we notice the physical effects of our mind’s worries. Remember that first day of school when your tummy was full of butterflies? Or when you were told off by the headmaster and couldn’t face your lunch afterwards? These symptoms are a perfect example of the interplay of mind and body.