What are the Warning Signs of Stress?

Sheri Cyprus

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.

Physical pain can be a sign of stress.
Physical pain can be a sign 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.

Trouble sleeping, or insomnia, may be a sign of stress.
Trouble sleeping, or insomnia, may be a sign of stress.

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.

Headaches are a common symptom of stress.
Headaches are a common symptom of 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.

Dry mouth may be due to feelings of stress.
Dry mouth may be due to feelings of stress.

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.

Depression may be a sign of stress.
Depression may be a sign of stress.
A quickened heartbeat can be a sign of stress.
A quickened heartbeat can be a sign of stress.
Inadequate sleep and poor nutrition may result in the inability to combat stress and fatigue.
Inadequate sleep and poor nutrition may result in the inability to combat stress and fatigue.
People who are stressed are more likely to get into confrontations.
People who are stressed are more likely to get into confrontations.
Stress can often be perceived in others through their body language.
Stress can often be perceived in others through their body language.
People who begin to drink excessively might dealing with an inordinate amount of stress.
People who begin to drink excessively might dealing with an inordinate amount of stress.
Someone who is easily frustrated may dealing with a high amount of stress.
Someone who is easily frustrated may dealing with a high amount of stress.
Acne is one symptom of stress in adults.
Acne is one symptom of stress in adults.
Engaging in unhealthy habits is a clear indication of stress.
Engaging in unhealthy habits is a clear indication of stress.
Children who are stressed might become more aggressive.
Children who are stressed might become more aggressive.

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Discussion Comments

Animandel

When we speak of the negative effects of stress we are generally speaking of long term stress. Everyone feels stress, probably on a daily basis. This is a part of life. However, stress that remains for extended periods can lead to depression, weight problems, heart disease and many other serious conditions.

If you learn how to manage stress then hopefully you won't have to worry about the warning signs of stress. One way to manage stress is to avoid stressful situations and people who cause you to become stressed. When you can't avoid stress face it. Getting matters out in the open can go a long way in reducing stress.

Remember that stress is caused by our reactions to situations and events. As simple as it sounds, not allowing yourself to be stressed can be an effective means of dealing with tension. One way to do this is to learn to accept the things you cannot change. Control the things you can control, and don't worry about the things you cannot control.

Feryll

For obvious reasons, we have come to think of stress as a negative force and something that we should attempt to eliminate. When in fact stress is natural and a means by which the body protects itself. This is mentioned in this article as it relates to fight-or-flight.

There are some employers and managers who believe that by keeping their employers in stressful situations they are helping the workers perform at a higher levels. In some cases, alertness and focus are symptoms of stress.

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