Are You Stressed? It May Not Be Obvious
You might think it’s obvious if you are feeling stressed – we all know what it’s like to feel anxious and frantic, right? Sometimes it is indeed apparent that we feel overwrought. On the other hand, sometimes our bodies try and let us know that we are under stress well before our minds catch up! Long-term stress has a negative effect on your health, so it’s important to spot physical manifestations early in order to tackle root causes quickly. Read on to discover some hidden signs of stress.
You Get Tired Easily
The mental strain of dealing with high stress levels takes its toll on your body, and just a few days of chronic stress is enough to induce fatigue. Rumination, poor sleep, negative thinking and a poor diet often co-exist, and it’s a deadly combination that can add up to serious fatigue. Studies reported in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research demonstrate that poor sleepers are more likely to report an inability to concentrate and experience daytime tiredness, than those who enjoy a regular sleep pattern. If you feel tired even during periods of low productivity, you may well have been trying to take on too much work or too many duties.
If you recognize any of these signs, it could be time to stop and assess your stress levels. Is there any chance that you are in denial about your stress levels? Listen to what your body is telling you and remember that there is no shame in reaching out to loved ones or a professional if life feels overwhelming.
You Have Trouble Sleeping
If you have difficulty falling or staying asleep, this could be a sign that you have far too many things to think about. Another classic sleep problem related to stress is the tendency to wake up a couple of hours before your alarm goes off, and not being able to get back to sleep. Bad dreams, especially those in which you are attempting to complete a task but encounter numerous obstacles, is another typical sign of stress.
You Have A Fluctuating Appetite
Sometimes when we are stressed, we hardly feel like eating anything. Yet on other occasions, a feeling of being overwhelmed can result in cravings for sugary or fatty food such as pizza and cookies. Some people even find that they fluctuate between the two extremes. Research in this area suggests that there is a complex set of associations between mood and food intake. For instance, a study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology shows that women prone to stress are more likely to increase their consumption of sweet foods when they feel anxious.
Your Temper Flares Up
When you are stressed, you may feel as though you are running on a short fuse. You are so consumed by your worries and the million things whizzing around your head, that it takes very little – a snide remark, a minor frustration at work – to take you over the edge. When you find yourself getting into heated arguments or raging at traffic jams every morning, it’s time to take a good look at your overall stress level.
You Move Quickly
Even though stress may make you feel tired, the irritability it brings often results in tense and frantic movements. You may realize that you are walking more quickly than usual, even when you have no pressing appointments. Other signs include tapping your feet impatiently for no obvious reason and drumming your fingers against tabletops. You may also shred pieces of paper or chew your pen without noticing.
You Can’t Focus
This is one of the biggest signs of stress. When we are overwhelmed, it can seem as though everything is competing for our attention at the same time. This triggers feelings of anxiety and panic, which in turn make it even harder to focus. As a result, a stressed person finds it nearly impossible to channel their attention towards one task or issue for any significant period of time. Stressed people may even lose their ability to retain information they have just heard or read, as their existing worries demand all their cognitive resources.