How to tell if you’re stressed

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By Webmaster-chx (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Up until now, the posts I have been putting up are all going on the assumption that you know that you’re stressed and now you’re looking for a way to get rid of said stress, but that isn’t always the case. There are a few people who are stressed out and don’t even realise it. They act stressed out, they can’t stop thinking about what it is that stresses them out, but they don’t think they are stressed. This can be harmful to the person’s wellbeing, not to mention their overall health (they are called stress ulcers for a reason). That’s why this post is going to be all about figuring out whether you are stressed or not.

Just like any other disease, stress has its symptoms, some minor and some major. When you’re stressed, your body will start acting differently from how it normally does; here are some of the symptoms you might get if you’re stressed:

  1. A constant headache: One of the more common symptoms of stress is a constant headache. However this could also be due to other reasons such as dehydration, lack of sleep, etc.
  2. Aching back, neck or shoulders: Another common symptom of stress is an aching back, neck or shoulders. When we are stressed, our body tenses up certain muscles (which muscles differ from person to person) as part of the fight or flight response which comes with stress. Prolonged stress leads to prolonged muscle tension which of course leads to pain. Also when you are stressed your body becomes more aware of pain (another fight or flight thing) so you tend to notice it more.
  3. Can’t get enough sleep: When you’re stressed out, you can have a lot of trouble getting to sleep because you can’t help but ruminate over things. Not to mention all the adrenaline in your system makes you wake up in the middle of the night a lot; this is also a sign of stress and anxiety.
  4. Really painful period cramps (only applies to women): A Harvard study found that women who are stressed out are two times more likely to suffer from painful menstrual cramps than women who are more relaxed. Stress does a real number to your body, especially your hormones; researchers believe it is this hormonal imbalance that is to blame for those really awful period cramps.
  5. You keep getting sick. When you are stressed out, you’re body’s immunity pretty much goes out the window making it much easier for all them bacteria and viruses to attack. As a result you keep getting sick and just can’t seem to get over it.

Well those are some of the physical symptoms, but stress is a mental thing and so it also affects your mental and emotional state. Here are some of the more mental and/or emotional symptoms you might suffer from if you are stressed:

  1. Weird dreams/borderline nightmares: They say dreams are a window to the inner workings of the mind. Problem is, it can be very hard to interpret dreams if you’re not a professional. Still most psychiatrists say that it’s not the content of the dreams but how you feel during and just after the dream. If you keep having dreams where whatever is happening makes you feel threatened or scared then you might be stressed out.
  2. You have a hard time concentrating: When you’re stressed out your brain is often on overdrive mode, thinking about different things, making it harder to concentrate on one thing.
  3. You get irritated and angry very easily: People who are stressed are always on edge and their emotional tolerance is significantly lower than most other people’s. Because of this, people who are tense, stressed out, anxious, depressed or all of the above tend to be much more irritable than others and get angry much more easily.

If you’ve gone through the list and you find that it describes you to a T, then you might be stressed out. Also, I got all this information from these two articles:

If you want to learn more about the signs of stress and what you can do about it, then you should check them out.

My hope is that you’ve gone through the list and you don’t show any of these symptoms, in which case you’re probably not stressed (Hooray!!). But if you have gone through this and realised that you are stressed, don’t worry you’re not the only one. There are plenty of ways to de-stress yourself and we’re going to go through them together. So let’s continue our quest towards being relaxed people and kick stress on its spiky butt, that’ll show it who’s the boss.

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