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Signs You Have A Lot Of Stress, Though You Don’t Even Notice It

Signs You Have A Lot Of Stress, Though You Don’t Even Notice It

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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More by this author

Jay Hill

Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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