Longer hours, more work, less vacations, later retirement….
are any of these familiar?
Modern life has become so hectic, time seems to have diminished in quantity with every waking hour scheduled on a smart phone, its no wonder we are feeling the pressure.
Surprisingly with all the obvious pressures we experience we still find it difficult to acknowledge that we might be stressed. For many of us we think stress has to look and act a certain way and if it doesn’t fit our perception then it doesn’t exist. The truth is, stress is not a one size fits all. Here are some signs that may indicate stress is present.
- YOU BECOME MORE ANXIOUS
Anxiety and stress are two sides of the same coin. Where one is present, the other one will be as well. Physical symptoms of anxiety often include muscle tension, rapid breathing, fast heartbeat, sweating, dizziness and fatigue. Practicing stress-management and relaxation techniques can help in dealing with the anxiety that results from stress.
- YOU BECOME MORE IMPATIENT
People who become more impatient will experience physical signs such a s muscle tension, hand clenching, and shallow breathing. Mental processes can also be affected, causing more irritability, anxiousness and impulsiveness. If you experience symptoms of impatience, you need to find the true cause, or “trigger.” Make a list of things that are causing you to experience impatience and avoid or minimize your contact with these “triggers.”
- YOU LOSE YOUR TEMPER MORE QUICKLY
When experiencing a stressful situation, your mental capacity diminishes. When you lose your temper, your anger overwhelms you and results in trouble communicating and often you end up saying things you later regret. You will feel worse about the situation which will add additional stress. Walk away, breathe slowly and deeply or take a quick break. Also having a glass of water at this critical moment will enable better mental function.
- YOU PROCRASTINATE MORE
Procrastination negatively affects both your career and your personal life. The inability to concentrate on what needs to be done results in feeling overwhelmed, resentful and guilty. Procrastination becomes a coping mechanism to deal with the stress, however this mechanism is counterproductive because we often fail to meet our obligations resulting in more stress. Dr. Neil Fiore, author of the book The Now Habit suggests that making scheduled time for enjoyment can be an effective way to overcome procrastination.
- YOU HAVE MORE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS
Negative thoughts and a pessimistic outlook are telltale signs of being stressed out. This is a direct result of the chemical changes in the brain when we experience stress. There are two solutions for this problem: not dwelling on negative thoughts and creating a positive mental attitude so that your thoughts are geared towards a positive outlook.
- YOU ARE IN PAIN OR SICK MORE OFTEN
Stress has a negative effect on your body because it causes the body to release more hormones, suppresses the immune system and produces tension in the head and body. Stress also causes tension, which triggers the sympathetic nervous system to reduce blood flow to the muscles. Back aches and pains are often the result as are muscle spasms. The immune system is also suppressed when stress is prevalent. As a result, we are more vulnerable to common colds and flu and likely to become sick.
Avoiding stress or simply becoming aware of stress that occurs enables you to deal with it effectively. Deep breathing, mini meditations and taking a break from the situation can help to alleviate or dissipate stress.
Remember stress is of no benefit to anyone or anything regardless of how attached you have become to it. Relax and then relax some more, see the big picture and take one positive step at a time towards reducing stress if not doing away with it all together.