Stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. We react to these changes with physical, mental and emotional responses. It is a normal part of life and we experience stress from the environment, our body and our thoughts.
Stress isn’t always a bad thing as it keeps us alert and ready in order to avoid danger. It also helps for a burst of extra energy and focus – when you’re playing a competitive sport or speaking in public.
Stress becomes negative when it is continuous, without relief or relaxation. As a result, we become overworked, and stress-related tension builds. It may then lead to anxiety and depression or other illness’ such as high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, headaches…
Continuous Stress also begins to change your brain. This TED Talk by Madhumita Murgia explains how your brain is affected by stress.
There are many symptoms associated with stress as it affects each of us differently – here are just a few of the more common ones.
- Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, moody.
- Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control.
- Want to gain back control.
- Having difficulty relaxing and quietening your mind.
- Feeling bad about yourself (low self-esteem).
- Avoiding others.
- Feeling worthless and depressed.
- Worrying and feeling anxious.
- Increasing dependence on food, alcohol, cigarettes.
- Seeing difficult situations as threatening.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Low energy, constantly tired, worn out.
- Headaches, aches, pains.
- Tense muscles.
- Upset stomach, diarrhoea, constipation, nausea.
- Clenched jaw, grinding teeth.
- Chest pain, rapid heartbeat.
- Frequent colds and infections.
- Loss of sexual desire and/or ability.
- Nervousness, shaking, ringing in the ear.
- Cold or sweaty hands and feet and/or excess sweating.
- Dry mouth, difficulty swallowing.