Stress Symptoms (and How To Deal With Them)
Stress can affect us on a number of different levels, typically physically, mentally, emotionally and behaviourally. You may recognise some of the symptoms of stress mentioned below.The levels are of course inter-related. For example, if we’re feeling tense (emotion), we may be too busy to relax (behaviour), become over-sensitive (mental) and suffer with vague aches and pains (physical). These symptoms feed off each other, and can turn into a vicious cycle, which is sometimes difficult to get out of.
The good news here is that if we can address and improve on one of the 4 symptom areas, this will have a knock-on effect on the others. For instance, if we're thinking in unhelpful ways, and can change the way we think, we can start to change the way we feel, and conversely, if our feelings improve, our thinking has a better chance of improving too. We can look at the example of how feeling down might lead us to be unsociable, and to be a ‘stay-at-home’. There may be a short-term benefit in this, as if we’re feeling un-confident, we won’t feel challenged by social situations, having to interact with others etc. However, this behaviour may well lead to feelings of isolation, and contribute to this lack of confidence, feeling down and so on.
If we can – and we can, it’s a question of tapping into resources that we may have temporarily forgotten or lost - we need to find ways of thinking and behaving that are more helpful for us. This will often be a gradual, step-by-step process, so evolution rather than revolution, as old habits die hard, and we may have been thinking and behaving in ways that aren’t helpful for us for quite some time.
Here are some of the symptoms we may experience in each of the areas:
Headaches; indigestion; breathlessness; palpitations; nausea; tiredness; vague aches and pains; skin irritation/eczema; clenched fist or jaw; diarrhoea; cold hands and feet; neck ache/back ache
Indecision; memory failing; easily distracted; loss of concentration; bad dreams; worrying; muddled thinking; making mistakes; less intuitive; less sensitive; persistent negative thoughts; demotivated; over-sensitivity; undervalue oneself; find fault with others
Irritability; more gloomy, depressed; drained, no enthusiasm; feeling tense; cynical; alienated; feeling nervous; apprehensive; anxious; feeling of pointlessness; loss of confidence; less satisfaction in life; distracted; reduced self-esteeem; job dissatisfaction; cry easily
Unsociability; restlessness; loss of appetite; poor time-keeping; decrease in sexual desire; over-eating; disturbed sleep; bad driving; drinking more; too busy to relax; taking work home; not looking after oneself; accident-prone; unable to unwind; low productivity; increased problems at home
If you like, take a look at, and download a copy of our 'Top Ten Tips' for promoting wellbeing and preventing and managing stress.
To discuss how we might be able to support you/your organisation with one-to-one resilience coaching or group training to address the above-mentioned symptoms and promote wellbeing, please get in touch with Stress Management Plus at our office in Reading, Berkshire on 0118 3283246 or via email.