What Wisdom Has Taught Me About Stress

My stomach hurts. My head hurts. I can’t function at work. I am so irritable. My body aches and my blood pressure are higher than normal. These are all symptoms of stress. If you have these symptoms doesn’t mean you are suffering from stress, however, coupled with other symptoms it very well could.

Stress is your body’s reaction to situations. Sometimes these situations are real and sometimes they are perceived. When a person experiences stress your heart rate will increase, breathing with increase/quicken, muscles tighten, and your blood pressure will rise. What causes stress in one person will not even affect another person.

For instance, when I got my first job, I moved from a small town to a very large metropolitan city. The population went from a little over a thousand people to several hundred thousand. I was over one thousand miles away from home. I went from a warm and semi-cold winter climate to blistery cold and snowy winters. During this time, I kept getting sick and having stomach problems. The doctors ran all types of tests on me. I had upper and lower GI tests. To my surprise my diagnosis was that I had “a severe case of homesickness”. Yes, homesickness was my diagnosis. I was working, had friends, and was going about day to day activities, however, I was not satisfied, because I missed home and I didn’t even realize it.

First Step

The first step in controlling stress is recognizing the symptoms. It’s hard to recognize and definitely hard to accept. Most of us don’t want to believe that we have stress problems (issues). Stress is that word that makes us think that we are weak and can’t handle life, our job, or whatever we have been assigned. However, stress can kill if it is not controlled. So, we have to learn to handle it by getting help.

Stress 

Stress can affect your emotions, behavior, your ability to think, and your physical health. Your entire body can be affected entirely or individually. However, remember, each person handles stress differently. If you suspect you are dealing with stress, check with your doctor. Please don’t be scared or ashamed.

Symptoms

Emotional Symptoms:

·     Easily agitated, frustrated, and moody

·     Feeling overwhelmed, feeling like you are losing control, or you need to take control all the time

·     Difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind

·     Low self-esteem, feeling lonely, worthless, and depressed

·     Avoids others

Physical Symptoms:

·     Low energy

·     Headaches

·     Upset stomach (diarrhea, constipation, nausea)

·     Consistent aches, pains, and tense muscles

·     Chest pains and rapid heartbeat

·     Insomnia

·     Frequent colds and infections

·     Loss of sexual desire and/or ability

·     Nervousness and shaking, ringing in ear, cold or sweaty hands and feet

Cognitive (used to comprehend, process, remember and apply incoming information) Symptoms

·     Constant worrying

·     Racing thoughts

·     Forgetfulness and disorganization

·     Inability to focus

·     Poor judgement

·     Being pessimistic or only seeing only the negative side

Behavioral Symptoms

·     Changes in appetite (eating too much or not enough)

·     Procrastination

·     Avoiding responsibilities

·     Increased use of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes

·     Nervous behaviors (nail biting, fidgeting, and pacing)

 Wisdom

Everyone experiences some of the symptoms above. A little bit of stress will not hurt you and it’s nothing to be concerned about. The stress we have to be concerned about is when it becomes consistent, ongoing, and it interferes with our lives, our livelihood, the people we love, and the people that love us. 

Stress can have short-term and long term affects. So, do something about. It can affect our mental health, cause heart attacks and strokes, skin and hair problem, as well as gastrointestinal problems.  

Your life and my life are precious so take the time to take care of yourself. Don’t be too proud to ask for help. If you or someone sees signs of stress in your life, make the necessary changes.