Live Well Part I – Identifying Symptoms of Stress That are Harming You

What stresses you out? Is it traffic? Is it having a demanding job? Is it financial hardships? Is it living through disaster – natural or manmade? Is it arguing? Is it clutter and disorganization? Is it a health issue? Is it buying a new home? Is it planning a wedding and getting married? Stress can be either a positive or negative event.
Stress is our body’s response to pressure. It is our reaction to something new, different, or challenging that can threaten your wellbeing or create the feeling of being unable to control the situation. Stress can cause a multitude of reactions.
It is likely that you experience stress – at least on some level – every day. Experiencing stress is normal with simple day-to-day activities. It is when stress becomes overwhelming and impacts your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing that something needs to be done. It is important to spot the signs and symptoms that you’re under too much stress so you can address the issues before they have a detrimental impact on your health, so that you can Live Well!

Physical Signs *

While you may not realize it, many of the symptoms that cause doctors’ visits are related to your reaction to stress. According to Web MD, stress related illness accounts for 75 – 95 percent of visits to the doctor. Stress can cause problems in the body without you realizing it. When visiting your doctor, get to the root of the problem and be sure to mention stress in your life. Don’t simply treat the symptoms with medication, treat the stress. In this article, I will be discussing signs and symptoms. In the next few weeks, I will be discussing ways to treat your stress.
Here are some signs that you have high levels of stress:
  • Muscle tightness in your head, chest, back or stomach.
  • Rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure and breathing difficulties.
  • Increased levels of cortisol can prompt the liver to produce more LDL cholesterol, thereby raising the levels of “bad” cholesterol.
  • Digestive or gastrointestinal issues can result in diarrhea or constipation or nausea and vomiting.
  • Fatigue and insomnia can adversely affect your health.

Mental and Emotional Signs *

Sometimes we fail to make the connection between stress and mental health. It can affect how you think and your ability to make rational decisions.
  • Anxiety, irritability, depression, and sadness.
  • Lack of motivation.
  • Racing thoughts or constant worry.
  • Problems with memory or concentration.
  • Making poor decisions.
  • Thinking of harming others.
  • Thoughts of self-harm.

Spiritual Signs *

Spirituality, whether it is God, your higher power or the universe can also be impacted by stress.
  • You have a sense of inner emptiness.
  • Life has no meaning.
  • The future looks bleak.

*Please remember that these lists are not all-inclusive, you may have different ones and possibly have multiple symptoms.

When to Get Help

Some of the signs that is it time to get help dealing with your stress:
  • You have thoughts of suicide
  • You have considered hurting other people
  • Your performance at work or school has decreased
  • You are using alcohol, drugs to deal with your stress
  • You have not been able to get sufficient sleep for an extended period of time
  • You experience irrational fears and anxiety
Dealing with high levels of stress can be detrimental to your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
My goal in this series, Live Well (Die Well) is to give you tools to enjoy the days, weeks, and years you have left in good health instead of suffering with chronic pain, medications, and lack of quality of life.
It is not often mentioned how one wants to die. I know it will happen – one day. In the meantime, I want to continue to be active, take a hike at a moments notice, get on the floor and play with my grandchildren, engage in meaningful conversation with my daughters and have relationship with God.
I actively practice stress reduction. I am not immune to stress; I simply have learned how to deal with it. In next week’s blog, I will be sharing the same tools I use to reduce my stress. Be sure to sign up to receive Thursday Thoughts in your inbox by clicking here, Home – The Grief Specialist







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