Common Symptoms of Stress

What are the most common symptoms of stress

Stressed ManYou might think of stress as just a mental thing – excessive pressures, worries and anxieties of modern life. However this is in many ways wrong, these are in fact just some of the common causes of stress. Stress is really your bodies natural and often inappropriate reaction to these ’causes’. This primitive biological reaction is the cause of most of the serious symptoms of stress.

Most of the common physical symptoms are caused by your own bodies ‘fight or flight’ response, which was never intended by nature to be used for extended periods of time. This response evolved to help us in dangerous situations – either to stay and fight or run away, both these reactions involve the body using chemicals and hormones to heighten awareness and give us a instant boost of energy & strength.

For short term ‘problems’ that can be physically resolved this chemical response is fine and causes no health problems for a fit human body. However most of today’s modern problems, situations and issues are not short term and cannot be solved with simple physical re-actions. Therefore our bodies are in a ‘stressed’ or alert state for much longer periods of time than is safe for them to cope with, over a period of time this is what causes the major health problems associated with stress.

Let’s start with a list – although this one will get quite long. Any one of these symptoms do not on there own necessarily mean that you are stressed, but if you find yourself suffering from several of these common symptoms, then stress is very often the root cause.

If you find that you are suffering from several of these common behavioral symptoms, then you are probably suffering from excessive stress levels. You should take action to reduce the Stress Factors in your life before these early symptoms turn into serious physical symptoms of stress. There are quite a few simple straight forward measures that you can take to overcome stress in your life, most of these stress reducing techniques just require a little common sense.

Behavioral Stress Symptoms

  • Obesity and Over-eating
  • Increased or excessive drinking of alcohol
  • Loss of appetite or anorexia
  • If you smoke – you’ll smoke more
  • Increased coffee consumption
  • Excessive and continuing irritability with other people
  • Substance Abuse
  • You can’t make decisions, large or small.
  • Unable to concentrate – (common symptom of stress)
  • Increased and suppressed anger
  • Loss of your sense of humor
  • Paranoia
  • Not be able to cope with life, feeling out of control
  • Jump from one job to another without finishing things
  • Excessive emotion & crying at small irritations
  • Lack of interest in anything other than work
  • Permanently tired even after sleep – (another very common symptom of stress)
  • Decreased sex drive / libido
  • Stress can cause Nail biting

Stress Facts
– Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.
– 75 to 90 percent of all physician office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
– Stress is linked to the six leading

Causes of stressWhy is Stress Such a Problem of Modern Life?

“Stress is a state we experience when the demands that are put upon us cannot be counter balanced by our ability to deal with them.” – definition by Richard Lazarus of the University of California.

For many of us, the pace of modern life and the rapid technological changes, cause us constantly to feel unable to cope with the demands that are put upon us. These demands come for many different sources – home, relationships, money, job, health, self esteem etc, etc.

Many of the things that used to help us cope with the everyday stresses and strains of life have slowly been taken away for us.

  • Extended families to share everyday problems
  • Communities that were small enough to look after the individual
  • Long term job safety
  • Sensible levels of borrowing and debt
  • Physical activity – whether at work or play

We are far far less active than we used to be. Physical activity of any kind helps to relieve symptoms of stress and even remove many of the causes.

The removal of each of these support systems has left us feeling more and more exposed and alone in a rapidly changing world. The old saying – “A problem shared is a problem halved” is proving to be very accurate regarding stress.

Physical Symptoms of Stress and Anxiety

  • Chest Pain or Palpitations
  • Migraine – Frequent Headaches and tension headaches
  • Indigestion – (very common physical symptom of stress)
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Constipation or Diarrhea
  • Flatulence or excessive wind.
  • Stomach cramps
  • Tremor and shaking and / or nervous twitches & tapping
  • Muscle cramps and spasms
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Worsening Eczema / Psoriasis
  • Increased sweating
  • Baldness or increased hair loss
  • Poor circulation with cold fingers and toes
  • Infertility
  • Menstrual irregularity
  • Premature ejaculation or Impotence
  • More frequent asthma attacks
  • More frequent flu’s and colds
  • Neck pain & back pain

If you are suffering from several of these common physical symptoms of stress and anxiety, then you are probably (almost certainly) suffering from excessive stress levels in your life. See our Treatment for Stress Page for practical advice on how to lower your dangerous stress levels. Don’t underestimate the seriousness of high or acute stress, if you know that you are highly stressed, then you should seek medical advice sooner rather than later – don’t put it off and don’t make excuses.

Why Does Stress and Anxiety Cause Health Problems?

The chemical and hormonal changes which affect every single organ of your body when you are stressed, have not evolved and developed along with today’s modern fast paced society. Your subconscious biological protection systems that were designed to help you protect yourself from physical threat, have become the major health issue in modern ‘developed’ societies.

These protection systems react to mental issues in a similar way that they respond to physical threats. The main difference is that the mental issues don’t go away quickly, thus your body remains in a dangerously ‘alert’ state for unhealthy periods of time. This extended ‘alert’ body state leads to the symptoms of stress listed above and eventually to many many very serious health problems.

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