Stress is a major problem in the modern world, more than 50% of visits to see a doctor are related to stress in one way or another. One of the main reasons that stress is such a huge problem is that most people ignore it completely, either not noticing the symptoms or living in denial, thinking it’ll pass or just wont effect them like it does everyone else.
Ignoring high levels of stress is a dangerous mistake, because it leads to many very serious health & mental problems including – heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, anxiety and suicide. Most of these conditions are caused by the bodies / brains inappropriate reaction to a perceived threat.
The brain puts the body into an alert state ready to fight off the threat or run away – the fight or flight’ response. This was a fine defense mechanism when the threats where physical and the dangers were short term, but in the modern world most of our problems & worries are in our heads, and can’t be easily fixed physically. This means that your body ends up in an alert or heightened state for greatly extended periods of time, this is what causes the real long term damage to your body. This extended ‘alert’ body state leads to the symptoms of stress listed below and eventually to many many very serious health problems.
A few of the more common behavioral Symptoms of Stress
* Obesity and Over-eating
* Loss of appetite or anorexia
* If you smoke – you’ll smoke more
* Increased coffee or alcohol consumption
* Increased irritability with other people, friends & family.
* Substance Abuse
* Unable to concentrate & make decisions – (very common symptom of stress)
* Increased and suppressed anger
* Loss of your sense of humor
* 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
Check through the list and see if any symptoms apply to you, be honest with yourself, denial is dangerous and won’t get you on the road to controlling stress. Any one of the symptoms listed could be caused by other factors, however if you are suffering from several of the symptoms listed especially – irritability, lack of concentration and continual tiredness – then you’re stressed.
It’s important to deal with stress before you develop any physical symptoms. Don’t think of stress as just a ‘mental’ problem that will go away, it wont unless you take action to deal with the underlying causes. The first step in overcoming stress is to admit that you’re stressed, the second step is to identify the underlying factors that are causing you stress and then take practical action to deal with them.