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Are you suffering from stress?

Stress is the body's way of responding to any kind of demand. It can be caused by both good and bad experiences. When people feel stressed by something going on around them, their bodies react by releasing chemicals into the blood. These chemicals give people more energy and strength, which can be a good thing if their stress is caused by physical danger. But if their stress is in response to something emotional and there is no outlet for this extra energy and strength, it can cause problems.

What are the signs of stress?
Recognizing when you are under stress is the first step in learning how to deal with it. More than two of these physical signs indicate that you may be placing your body under high risk from excessive stress:

  1. Being overweight for your age and height.
  2. Having excessive nervous energy which prevents you from sitting still and relaxing.
  3. Changing your appetite (eating either less or more).
  4. Changing your sleep habits (either causing you to sleep too much or not letting you sleep enough).
  5. Displaying 'nervous' behaviour such as twitching, fiddling, talking too much, nail biting, teeth grinding, pacing, and other repetitive habits.
  6. Catching colds or the flu more often than normal and developing other illnesses such as asthma, headaches, stomach problems, skin problems, and other aches and pains.
  7. Experiencing difficulties in sex life and performance.
  8. Feeling constantly tired and worn out.

You may also experience mental symptoms. More than two of the following indicate that you are at risk:

  1. Worrying and feeling anxious (which can sometimes lead to anxiety disorder and panic attacks).
  2. Feeling out of control, overwhelmed, confused, and/or unable to make decisions.
  3. Experiencing mood changes such as depression, frustration, anger, helplessness, irritability, defensiveness, irrationality, overreaction, or impatience and restlessness.
  4. Being increasingly dependent on food, cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs.
  5. Neglecting important things in life such as work, school, and even personal appearance.
  6. Developing irrational fears of things such as physical illnesses, natural disasters like thunderstorms and earthquakes, and even being terrified of ordinary situations like heights or small spaces.

How to deal with stress:

  1. Eliminate as many sources of stress as you can.
  2. If you are always running late, sit down with a pencil and paper and see how you are actually allotting your time.
  3. Avoid predictably stressful situations.
  4. If you can’t remove the stress, remove yourself.
  5. Don't try to compete with others in accomplishments, appearance, or possessions.
  6. Labour-saving devices, such as cellular phones or computer hookups, often encourage us to cram too many activities into each day.
  7. Try doing only one thing at a time.
  8. Remember, sometimes it’s okay to do nothing.
  9. If you suffer from insomnia, headaches, recurring colds, or stomach upsets, consider whether stress is part of the problem.
  10. If you feel stress (or anything else) is getting the better of you, seek professional help from a doctor or therapist.