Modern life seems to be designed to stress us out. Work, family, finances, health, politics, the list is endless. If you’re suffering from stress recognising the signs is essential.
Our stress response is a natural reaction to various situations. In evolutionary terms, it has kept up alive by activating our ‘fight or flight’ response, readying our body for action by increasing our heart rate and raising our blood pressure.
People deal with stress in different ways. Sometimes we don’t even realise we’re struggling. Too much stress, for too long, can wreak havoc on our mental and physical health, which is why it’s important to recognize the signs and act early.
You Can’t Get Through The Day Without Something
Some people don’t feel their day has started until they’ve had their hit of coffee, or like to wind down after a week at work with a drink or two. That’s fairly common, but if you’re finding yourself relying on recreational drugs, food or alcohol to get you through each day, then you need to address the situation before it really gets out of hand.
Help is available if you’re looking to do an alcohol detox or curb your unhealthy eating habits. Make an appointment with your GP and they will be able to refer you for specialist treatment.
Suffering From Stress: Mood & Behavioural Changes
One of the first things you’ll likely notice is a change in your emotions. Sometimes you might brush these off or put them down to having a bad day/week. If you find yourself making excuses for your emotions or moods quite often, then this is a sign of stress. It can manifest in a number of ways:
- Feeling overwhelmed all the time
- Moody, angry and easily agitated
- Low self-esteem
- Little interest in your usual hobbies
- Avoiding contact with others
- Lack of interest in sex
- Constantly worrying about things
- Being overly pessimistic (unless you’re a natural “glass half empty” person)
Physical Symptoms Of Stress
The mind and body are inextricably linked and because of this, stress can have a huge effect on your overall health.
- Weight gain
- Low energy
- Frequent colds or bugs
- Aching muscles
- Digestive issues – constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion
- Chest pain
- High blood pressure (leading to serious heart problems)
- Skin conditions (acne, psoriasis, eczema)
How To Get Help When Suffering From Stress
Depending on why you’re stressed, there are a number of ways to reduce and deal with the amount of stress in your life. In all circumstances, a good standard of self-care and quality time to yourself and maintaining a balanced diet and exercise plan, can work wonders, and make you more resilient to everyday stressful events.
However, if you’re suffering for a number of the symptoms above, feeling helpless and can’t see a way out of the situation, you need to visit your GP in the first instance, they will be able to help refer you to any necessary therapy or help groups while also helping treat any of the physical symptoms you are experiencing.
You can also visit the NHS website for information on dealing with stress.