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

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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 November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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