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We hear about it all of the time, but what exactly is stress? And what are the classic signs of stress?
The definition of stress from Merriam-Webster.com is:
“A physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.”
We all experience anxiety and tension throughout our lives. Some is intense and some is mild, but it is always a factor in how we live each day. Unfortunately, too many people simply do not recognize the signs of stress and how it is compromising their quality of life.
Too many of us suffer from what is called chronic stress which is periods of extended tension with either internal or external causes. A 2004 American Institute of Stress survey indicates that it is such a problem that two thirds of all adults would seriously welcome some form of help to deal with excess tension in their lives. And without adequate management of the tension and anxiety, most people at some point in their lives will experience health complications.
Ultimately, stress is change. And it can be any type of change in your life…..from change in diet and exercise, to job loss or promotion. Marriage, separation, divorce, a new baby, a parking ticket, death of a loved one, losing your car keys, arguing with a spouse or child, getting a new car, moving, buying a house. Anything that brings about change will create tension. Too much stress can cause you to become overloaded and overwhelmed.
As you become overloaded and overwhelmed, you may begin to start having physical, emotional or behavioral symptoms.
Some of the physical symptoms you can experience are:
Aching or pain that occurs anywhere throughout the body either continuously or frequently
This would be issues such as headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel, neck and shoulder pain.
This includes heart issues such as high blood pressure, chest pain, palpitations, heart disease and a racing heartbeat.
Including frequent upset stomach, heartburn, constipation, nausea, diarrhea, excessive gas (belching and flatulence).
Such as insomnia, sleeping too much, restless sleep and waking up frequently throughout the night
This would be skin problems such as boils, rashes, eczema, psoriasis, hives and itching.
Experiencing frequent colds and flu, unexplained allergy attacks
Loss of sex drive and poor sexual performance
Other symptoms that you may experience, that don’t fit into the above categories are:
Jaw tension: clenching or grinding the teeth.
Muscle tremors and trembling of the lips and hands.
Dizziness, light headed and fainting
Buzzing, ringing or popping sounds in the ears
Cold or sweaty hands or feet
Sweaty hands of feet
Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
The good news is that you can manage the symptoms of chronic stress. Through making dietary changes, getting plenty of rest and practicing some stress management techniques can get you back on the road to feeling better. Stay tuned for plenty of stress management tips and tricks to help you to combat stress in your life!