Signs and Symptoms of Stress

One of the dangers of excess stress is that it frequently takes place gradually for months and even years.

Stress slowly increases until the sufferer experiences a serious wakeup call such as a mental breakdown or health crisis.

Many in the middle of ongoing stress figure that’s just how adults with a myriad of responsibilities are supposed to feel.

True, some measure of stress is normal and even healthy. Ironically, not feeling enough tension, stress, and challenge can be stressful, too.

But what about when stress levels are too high for too long?

Are you overly stressed? Here are some common signs and symptoms.

Physical Characteristics of Stress

Stress presents itself in a wide variety of ways. Most symptoms fall into one of two categories: physical or emotional signs.

Here are common physical signs of stress:

  • Stomach problems, including nausea, constipation and diarrhea
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Increased sweating
  • Trouble swallowing and a dry mouth
  • Loss of the ability or desire for sex
  • Increased illness episodes such as infections and colds
  • Trouble sleeping/insomnia
  • Body pains, aches and tense muscles
  • Rapid heartbeat and possible chest pain
  • Fatigue and loss of energy
  • Ringing ears, involuntary shaking and nervousness
  • A clenched jaw
  • Cold hands and feet/sweaty hands and feet
  • Grinding teeth

It’s important to take these symptoms seriously, especially if you’ve had them for a while now.

They may be the result of stress or another underlying health condition. Stress is more serious than just an inconvenience.

(See our earlier article entitled “Stress is Really a Killer)

Emotional Signs and Symptoms of Stress

While sufferers of stress usually experience physical symptoms, emotional symptoms are also common.

What signs are typical? Here are a few:

  • The desire to isolate from others
  • Trouble calming/quieting your mind
  • Difficulty relaxing your body
  • Depression
  • Feelings of loneliness, worthlessness and low self esteem
  • Easily angered and moody
  • Feelings of being overwhelmed

While the symptoms mentioned above are not an exhaustive list, they should give you some insight into whether you currently experience unhealthy stress levels.

Too many sufferers don’t take stress seriously. High levels of ongoing stress require swift action.

A skilled therapist can help you decide if your stress levels are excessive. If you are too stressed, your therapist can also help you develop a plan to decrease your stress levels as quickly as possible.

Life is too short to live stressed out. There is help for you.

You can experience a much higher quality of life than that! If it is time for you to schedule your couples counseling appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Stress Is Really a Killer

Sometimes stress is like a small dose of sunburn. Other times, it feels like a tidal wave just crashed on your head and won’t let you up for air.

Some amount of both of those experiences and anything in between are par for the course. Welcome to life, my friend.

But what happens when things become stress-filled on a regular basis?

Early death can result. Some studies estimate up to ten years can be lost.

Why is this?

The Body Breaks Down Under Chronic Stress

That’s the simple answer that helps explain why early death occurs although technical medical accounts show more of the science behind why and how this happens.

All sorts of things go wrong when the body experiences high levels of stress over long periods of time. And these things are stressful only compounding the problem.

Brain Drain—Severe and prolonged stress damages the brain. Brain cells die off. The brain’s memory weakens as well as its ability to handle complex life scenarios.

Depression—The regularly stressed struggle badly to find hope. And when you can’t picture your life getting any better, watch out. Depression is right around the corner.

Fatigue and Weight Gain—Depression leads to fatigue and fatigue leads to depression so that it’s sometimes hard to tell which one came first.

Heart Attack and Stroke—Prolonged stress puts you at greater risk of both.

Fatigue and depression make it difficult to impossible to make healthy diet and exercise choices. Also, cortisol is released into the body during stress. Consistent release of this chemical leads to weight gain.

In summary, these causes and more can lead to an unsatisfying and short life.

So, What Can Be Done?

There’s plenty that you can do to destress your life.

Here are a few quick ideas:

  • Practice positive-thinking strategies to handle stress better.
  • Maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Leave stressful situations such as a job (when possible).
  • Stop trying to control things you can’t.
  • Smile often even if you sometimes need to force it.
  • Find a hobby you look forward to doing.
  • Read the funniest book in your local library. (Ask your librarian)
  • Develop a good support system of family and friends.
  • Practice meditation.
  • Consider counseling for support and help with implementing better coping strategies.

Ongoing and high levels of stress are something that require your immediate attention. You may need to take some drastic steps to decrease your stress.

Any inconvenience caused by your healthy change will quickly be repaid. You’ll experience a longer, happier and more fulfilling life as a result. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.