Spotting the Causes of Stress
Sometimes it can seem that stress is an inevitable part of everyday life, but there are ways to minimise its effects on your health.
Stress is a symptom of the disruption of your physical, mental, emotional or spiritual well-being. All of us experience stress during our lives. In fact it can often help us to perform beyond our normal capability.
Stress is sometimes described as the body’s ‘flight, fright or freeze’ response. When you have a stressful experience, your brain stimulates the production of adrenaline, increasing your heart and breathing rate and readying your muscles for action.
The Effects of Stress
During periods of prolonged stress, your hormones and energy levels will become depleted and your immune system weakened. Too much stress can cause depression, panic attacks, mood swings and phobias.
There is no formula for a stress free life, but once you acknowledge that you are stressed, you can learn strategies to manage it and work towards a more relaxed lifestyle.
The Causes of Stress in Your Life
In Daily Life
Life is now busier than ever, and when new technology breaks down, it aggravates a stressful situation. Fitting too much into a day leads to disorganisation and stress.
Situations at work such as an unmanageable workload, conflict with colleagues or lack of support can make work very unpleasant.
Your home is supposed to be a retreat from the stress of the outside world, but sometimes it can cause you even more stress. Relationship problems, moving to a new house, noisy neighbours or even a leaking sink can increase stress levels.
Common Stress Symptoms
If you are suffering from some of these physical, mental or emotional symptoms, you are probably stressed.
Explore Your Feelings
If you are experiencing more than three of the symptoms in each of the categories below, chances are you are suffering from stress. You may have been ignoring these feelings and conditions and assuming them to be part of every day life, but now is the time to examine them more closely and get to know the root cause.
The mental and emotional symptoms of stress can be extremely serious and should be dealt with immediately.
- Depression and mood swings
- Anger, irritability and tearfulness
- Anxiety, panic attacks and irrational fears
- Loss of concentration
- Decreased confidence and inability to make decisions
- Addictions such as alcoholism or drug dependency
Physical symptoms of stress can become debilitating and worrying, and you should treat your stress before it incapacitates you.
- Migraine or headache
- Insomnia, disturbed sleep or nightmares
- Dry mouth, clenching jaw or grinding teeth
- Muscle tension in neck, shoulders and back
- Frequent colds, flu and infections
- High blood pressure
- Increased susceptibility to asthma attacks
- Nausea, constipation or diarrhoea
- Changes in eating habits and gastric ulcers
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Reduced sex drive
- Fatigue or exhaustion