I often work with people who are stressed out, at work and in their personal lives and this starts to have a knock-on effect on health. A lot of people don’t spot the signs of stress early enough to catch it and prevent it from developing into something that can have a lasting impact on our health. When we are stressed our brain undergoes both chemical and physical changes that affect its overall functioning. During periods of high stress, certain chemicals within the brain begin to rise and cause other hormones such as adrenalin to be released. The release of these chemicals contributes to certain physiological effects, including rapid heart rate, higher blood pressure and a weakened immune system, leaving us open to catching those colds and flus that are everywhere at this time of year.
When left unmanaged over time, chronic stress can lead to the development of other serious problems from heart problems to dementia.
So, what are the first signs of stress to look out for?
Emotional symptoms of stress include:
- Becoming easily agitated, frustrated and moody
- Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control or need to take control
- Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind
- Feeling bad about yourself (low self-esteem), lonely, worthless, and depressed
- Avoiding others
Physical symptoms of stress include:
- Low energy
- Upset stomach
- Aches, pains, and tense muscles
- Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
- Frequent colds and infections
- Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
- Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear
- Cold or sweaty hands and feet
- Excess sweating
- Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
- Clenched jaw and grinding teeth
If you are suffering from any of the above, now maybe just the right time to make some changes.
Not only does stress harm our health but it can also put strain on relationships, it can affect our efficiency and our overall mood and happiness. Therefore, it is so important to make sure you are taking some ’time-out’ to relax.
Here are some ideas of a few things you can incorporate in to your everyday life to tackle stress and feel more relaxed. Have a go at a few and let me know how you get on.