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14 WARNING Signs that You’re Way Too Stressed

14 WARNING Signs that You’re Way Too Stressed

Effective stress management is a crucial skill that every individual needs to possess nowadays given that stress has become so rampant. Although stress is not entirely detrimental and can even be helpful and motivating at moderate levels, chronic exposure to high levels of stress can lead to numerous mental, physical, and emotional conditions. Some of the most common problems include hypertension, heart attacks, depression, anxiety, accelerated aging, and even death.

With the knowledge that stress can bring about harm came the outpouring of information on how to deal with it effectively. As a matter of fact, stress management information is readily available to anyone, often without any cost.

Dealing with stress positively and effectively is not as difficult as many people imagine. The majority of stress-relief methods or stress management techniques are quite straightforward and require nothing more than common sense. The problem that people are facing these days is the inability to recognize that one’s stress levels are already out of hand.

Importance of Recognizing Stress Symptoms

It’s important to learn how to recognize when your stress levels are actually getting out of control. Stress is deceptive. It has its way of creeping up on you so you get used to it and you start to feel a certain sense of familiarity with it. If you are not mindful of your body, you may just be surprised to see that it has already taken its toll on you and has already caused a great deal of harm.

For instance, people who are constantly exposed to high levels of stress may think that they have grown accustomed to the pressure and high surge of adrenaline, but the truth is, there is no such thing as getting used to stress. When you thrive on stress, it’s just difficult for you to discern the symptoms of stress; but this does not mean that your body is not responding to stress. Eventually, something within you will malfunction.

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It is important to recognize stress before it actually develops into a serious health problem. And while stress affects different people in many different ways, there are certain factors and symptoms that are common among the general population.

Symptoms of Uncontrolled Stress

Like in any medical condition, the starting point towards the resolution of the problem that is stress is symptom recognition. Stress is your body’s way of protecting you; it is a normal physiological response to any threatening event that comes your way. But beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing harm to your health and life in general. Below are some of the common warning signs and symptoms of too much or uncontrolled stress. If you seem to be experiencing many of the symptoms listed, then it likely indicates that you are not coping with the stress in your life effectively.

Cognitive Symptoms.

Cognitive symptoms refer to problems that have anything to do with brain processes like thinking, attention, perception, memory, reasoning, and problem solving. The most commonly observed cognitive symptoms of poorly managed stress are as follows:

  • Memory problems

  • Decreased concentration abilities

  • Poor decision-making

  • Negativity

  • Unreasonable anxiety

Emotional Symptoms.

Emotional symptoms are those symptoms that are associated with a person’s feelings. Emotional changes can be normal, temporary responses to events; however, disproportionate, extreme, persistent, or unstable emotional reactions may indicate a serious issue. In stress, the following emotional symptoms can indicate stress overload:

  • Extreme mood swings

  • Irritability

  • Constant state of agitation

  • Depression

Physical Symptoms.

Physical symptoms are basically your body’s physical manifestations. They are often characterized by pain, are characterized by discomfort, or are visually observable. The most common physical indicators of too much stress are the following symptoms:

  • Severe headaches or migraines

  • Backaches

  • Chest discomfort

  • GI disturbances

  • Sleep pattern changes

The health problems brought about by uncontrolled stress do not develop overnight. Be wary of these little red flags if you don’t want to find yourself suffering some major health issue.

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More by this author

Kara Heissman

Kara is passionate about sharing her self-improvement insights to help more people.

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Last Updated on October 20, 2020

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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