Stress Symptoms & How to Manage Stress Effectively
It's something we've all experienced one time or another. Sometimes, when we say we're "stressed", we ay be experiencing feelings of frustration, irritability and a general sensation of overwhelming. But did you know that stress can manifest itself through a range of physical and emotional symptoms? If you're experiencing the following symptoms, you may be experiencing stress...
- Difficulty sleeping
- Change in appetite
- Muscular tension and pain
- Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
- Digestive issues such as stomach aches and constipation
- Skin problems such as eczema or psoriasis
- Loss of sex drive
- Depression, anxiety and irritability
- Difficulty concentrating and forgetfulness
- Negative thoughts, feeling overwhelmed, and feeling like there's no way out.
Note that some people may experience less or more symptoms than others, and every case is unique. If you experience any of the above, however, you should consult your GP. It's important to have a plan to manage stress, as can have a negative impact on our overall health and wellbeing, particularly in the following areas:
Prolonged or chronic stress can have a number of negative effects on both physical and mental health. Some of the risks of stress include:
- Cardiovascular disease: Stress can increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke by raising blood pressure and heart rate.
- Immune system dysfunction: Stress can weaken the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight off infections and illnesses.
- Mental health issues: Stress can contribute to the development of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
- Digestive problems: Stress can cause a range of digestive issues, such as stomach aches, constipation, and diarrhoea.
- Reproductive issues: Stress can affect reproductive health in both men and women, leading to sexual dysfunction and fertility problems.
- Skin problems: Stress can cause or worsen skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
- Substance abuse: Stress can contribute to the development of substance abuse problems, as some people may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope.
- Sleep disorders: Stress can cause insomnia, nightmares and other sleep disorders.
- Weakened cognitive function: Stress can affect cognitive function, making it harder to focus and think clearly.
- Increased risk of accidents and injuries: Stress can lead to accidents and injuries caused by lack of attention, carelessness and emotional reactivity
Please seek advice/a consultation with your GP if you are affected by any of the above, where you'll be able to discuss your options for stress management.
Here are some helpful tips on how to manage stress effectively:
- Identify the cause of your stress: Try to identify the specific things that are causing you stress, and consider ways to address them directly.
- Prioritize self-care: Make sure you are taking care of yourself physically and emotionally by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in regular exercise.
- Practice relaxation techniques: Techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help you relax and calm your mind and body.
- Connect with others: Talking to friends and family, or seeking support from a therapist or counsellor, can help you process your stress and feel less alone.
- Practice time management: Prioritize your tasks, make to-do lists, use a planner and learn to say no to non-essential tasks.
- Engage in activities you enjoy: Make time for hobbies and activities that you enjoy, as they can help you relax and distract you from stressors.
- Get organized: A cluttered environment can add to stress, so make an effort to keep your living and working spaces organized.
- Learn to accept what you can't change: Recognize that some things are outside of your control and learn to accept them.
- Seek professional help: If you find that you are unable to manage your stress on your own, consider talking to a healthcare professional. They can help you develop a plan to manage stress, and may recommend therapy or medication.