The warning signs of stress are different in different people and the body may react to stress physically, mentally and/or emotionally. For example, some people may get skin problems whole others may grind their teeth or experience crying fits. Increased worrying, problems thinking clearly, depression, restlessness and changes in eating habits are other common warning signs of stress.
The warning signs of stress that are biological may be difficult to notice such as increased blood flow in the legs. That may occur as a reaction to the fight or flight response by the body to stress. The hypothalamus gland in the brain reacts to a stressor by alerting the sympathetic nervous system. The resulting stress hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine generate the fight or flight response.
Blood sugar rises as part of the fight or flight response so that we feel more energetic. The pupils may dilate in order to prepare the eyes to see clearly. Chronic stress, or stress that we experience on a regular basis, can result in a slowdown of the reproductive system, an inhibited immune system response and insomnia. We may find ourselves more irritable, aggressive and/or disorganized when under constant stress. Physically, we may suffer from bowel problems, headaches, backaches and/or nervous tics as a result of chronic stress.
When we are excited and nervous about something such as our wedding day or giving an important presentation at work, we still often have warning signs of stress even if it's associated with positive events in our lives. Many of us have a butterflies feeling in the stomach and a faster heartbeat. Sweaty palms and a dry mouth may be other warning signs of stress whether the source of the stress is positive or negative.
Although many different symptoms of stress are normal, professional help should be sought if the warning signs of stress are severe and affect the ability to cope with daily life. For example, if mild fears have suddenly escalated or if sleeping and eating habits have become unhealthy, professionals can often help. A doctor can help to diagnose whether the stress is due to a medical condition or to something else and can give referrals to other health professionals.