Stress is something we all face from time to time but what are the warning signs of stress and how do you know when it is starting to make you ill? It’s important to realise that prolonged periods of stress can have serious and long-lasting effects on your health. With that in mind, I wanted to take a closer look at the things you need to be aware of so that you can tell when it has gone from being more than a bad day and become a situation you need to deal with urgently.
A stressful life!
Stress is a common part of life. Even the most relaxed or laid back person will suffer from some kind of stress, whether it’s good or bad. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, illness, and even despondency. You can usually feel stress coming on before it sets in completely. Remember too that some stress is not necessarily a bad thing as it can help to keep us motivated as well as making us better able to keep calm and resilient during a crisis.
Most people will notice some stress warning signs, when stress begins to set in. Stress warning signs can manifest themselves in subtle ways. More often than not, they are quite noticeable, and often trigger both physical and emotional responses. Maybe your palms sweat. Maybe your heart races. You may even begin to feel ill. This leads many people to see a doctor, and quite often they find that there is nothing wrong with them. The suspected illness often turns out to be a side effect of too much stress. Whatever the case may be, figuring out what triggers your stress is the first step to eliminating it.
When you’re under stress, you may experience a number of physical reactions. Some people begin to hyperventilate or become dizzy. Slowing down can help reduce these symptoms and ease your nerves. However, some people begin to speed up when they feel these symptoms, because they are propelled into the fight or flight mode. The fight or flight mode drives you to immediately react to whatever is stressing you out.
Knowing that these are some of the early warning signs of stress means that you can recognise when it is potentially becoming a problem and then you can start to use some of the stress management techniques we have discussed in some of the other articles here on Life Methods such as Meditation or Yoga
Take a breath!
One of the first things I always recommend when you feel symptoms of stress coming on is: Focus on your breathing. The pattern of your breath is a huge indicator of your stress levels. When you’re under high levels of stress, you may begin to take short, shallow breaths. This actually slows down your ability to act and can cause even more stress.
If you notice that you are breathing this way then resolve to change it by taking a series of long deep cleansing breaths – filling up your lungs with oxygen and breathe out the waste products such as carbon dioxide. You can even add some visualisation and imagine that you are breathing out your feelings of stress too.
When stress begins to build, your emotions kick into overdrive. This gives you multiple things to think about and causes many people to become snappy. You may have trouble concentrating, which can slow down your productivity in other aspects of your life. However, don’t be intimidated by this. You can change this and live a more relaxed life.
Ask those around you if you are acting differently. Get their feedback, and work on coping with these. If your partner tells you that you start to get snappy, ask them what they think you should do to change this. Emotional stress has the ability to pour into other parts of your life and cause even more problems, many of them physical. When you begin to feel these setting in, take a step back, and count to ten slowly.
Slowly but surely, you will begin to feel tension recede. This will make you more fun to be around, and it will significantly reduce your stress levels.
Another symptom of too much stress is constant worry. One stressor can lead you to worry about other things that may go wrong, creating yet another cause for stress. Beware of creating a vicious circle!
The Classic Warning Signs of Stress
Stress can cause a number of other reactions. These can include:
Headaches are one of the most common stress warning signs. People sometimes develop migraines when they are under high levels of stress. When you feel a headache coming on, take a brief walk. This gives you time to clear your head and see something pleasant. When you return, you will find that your mind is clearer, and you will feel a lot better.
Stress can cause you to lose sleep. You stay up at night worrying. Maybe you run every negative scenario through your head. As a result, you don’t sleep and feel tired the next day. This is a problem for many people, which can be solved. Try reading an excerpt out of a book before you go to sleep. This will put your mind on something else. And it will quiet your thoughts as you drift to sleep.
High levels of stress can make you worry and get scared about what could happen. This can lead to feelings of fear and helplessness, which can slow you down and make you feel tired. Try doing something you enjoy when you begin to feel this way. Talk with a friend, or spend time with your children. Being around others will soothe your mind.
I recently watched a video that showed the effects that stress can have on some of today’s social influencers. You can see some of the warning signs we have just described in this article starting to affect the presenter. It’s a brilliant portrayal of how the pressures of the modern world can create an almost unbearable level of stress.
You can watch it here:
Stress warning signs can manifest themselves in a number of ways. However, they can be overcome with perseverance in times of challenge and applying the stress management techniques I share with you here. Knowing what are the warning signs of stress will allow you to recognize your stress before it becomes too much.
Coping with stress can be a challenge, but finding peace and relaxation doesn’t have to be. This is your life. Live it to the fullest!
All the best!
By the way…
If you have not yet downloaded a free copy of my book “Simple Solutions For A Stressful Life” then you can get a completely free copy by clicking the image below