Consider a day in the life: it’s 8:05 and your morning alarm is muffled by the aquamarine color-of-the-season decorative pillows you insisted on buying. You have three missed calls and nine emails- two from your boss and the rest from the daily horoscope you have neglected to read for a few days. You’re five minutes late to work already. Needless to say, you are feeling stressed, and your day has only just started.
So how do you escape this vicious cycle? Learn to relax with our stress management series by first learning to identify signs of excessive stress in yourself. Here are some basic signs of excessive stress:
- Do you feel irritable? Irritability generally causes a person to feel frustrated easily. Often this frustration results in a short temper.
- Do you feel anxious? Anxiety is the body’s natural response to danger, an automatic alarm that goes off when you feel threatened, under pressure or are facing a stressful situation.
- Have you lost interest in work? Excessive stress can interfere with your productivity. Your ability to deal with stress can mean the difference between success or failure at the workplace.
- Are you having trouble concentrating? The higher the level of stress we are under, the more frequent mental lapses become. Long-term stress disrupts communication between brain cells affecting the brain’s ability to store information and create solid memories.
- Do you have frequent headaches? Certain types of headaches can be related to stress. If you’re experiencing more headaches, especially tension headaches, stress could be the cause.
- Do you have stomach problems? Chronic upset stomach, irritable bowels and other unpleasant symptoms of the digestive system are the gut’s natural reaction to stress.
- Do you grind your teeth at night, or during the day? Many of us do not realize the effects of stress can impact dental health. While sleeping, people under stress may clench their teeth or grind them back and forth against one another. This action, called bruxism, can not only wear down and damage your teeth, but may also cause temporomandibular joint problems (TMJ), leading to severe jaw and neck pain.
- Are you socially withdrawing? When people are excessively stressed, they tend to withdraw from normal activities and social interactions.
- Are you having difficulty sleeping? We tend to stress when we are lacking sleep. Similarly, we lack sleep when we are stressing out. As you can imagine, stress is one of the top causes of Sleep deprivation. Whether caused by personal life events or work related, stress can affect you both physically and mentally, making it almost impossible to relax and fall asleep.
Stress is our response to daily life. In the right amount, stress can be a positive force, helping us to do our best, stay alert and energized. Waiting until the last minute isn’t always a bad thing if the pressure helps you work more efficiently.
Excessive stress, however, can make us tense and anxious. It is important to maintain a healthy level of stress in your life, as well as seeing the signs of excessive stress in yourself. Being able to identify the signs of excessive stress is one of the first steps to manage your stress and improve the quality of your daily life. It is important to take some time out of your day to tune into the signs of stress and develop different tools to manage stress levels.
In honor of National Stress Awareness Day, we want to help you not only learn about identifying your stress, but also addressing it before long-term consequences arise. Learn to relax with our upcoming stress management series:
- Reduce stress by Exercise
- Reduce stress by Eating Well
- Reduce stress by Prioritizing your time
- Reduce Stress by Getting Some Sleep
- Reduce Stress by Breaking Bad Habits