Tuesday, May 20, 2014

What Are Your Symptoms?

And both will kill you over time!
Stress is something that we all deal with on a daily basis on one form or another. Most of this encounter this little monster at the office while others deal with numerous outside factors that impact the level of stress in their life. Lately, life seems to be shuffling the grab bag and pouring out numerous stressors all at one time from all different areas. While I am a firm proponent that stress in moderation is a good thing that can help with motivation, too much stress, especially on a consistent basis rather than the normal ebb and flow, has the exact opposite effect.

Unfortunately, stress is frequently overlooked when someone isn’t feeling right. I have seen it time and again in countless friends and coworkers and have experienced a few symptoms here and there in my own life at different points and for various reasons. It is with this underdiagnoses in mind that I want to bring to your attention (or remind you) of the detrimental symptoms and effects that stress can have on you. While by no means complete, here is the list from WebMD:

What Are The Symptoms of Stress?
Stress can affect all aspects of your life, including your emotions, behaviors, thinking ability, and physical health. No part of the body is immune. But, because people handle stress differently, symptoms of stress can vary. Symptoms can be vague and may be the same as those caused by medical conditions. So it is important to discuss them with your doctor. You may experience any of the following symptoms of stress.
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Emotional symptoms of stress include:
·         Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody
·         Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control or need to take control
·         Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind
·         Feeling bad about yourself (low self-esteem), lonely, worthless, and depressed
·         Avoiding others

Physical symptoms of stress include:
·         Low energy
·         Headaches
·         Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation, and nausea
·         Aches, pains, and tense muscles
·         Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
·         Insomnia
·         Frequent colds and infections
·         Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
·         Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear, cold or sweaty hands and feet
·         Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
·         Clenched jaw and grinding teeth

Cognitive symptoms of stress include:
·         Constant worrying
·         Racing thoughts
·         Forgetfulness and disorganization
·         Inability to focus
·         Poor judgment
·         Being pessimistic or seeing only the negative side

Behavioral symptoms of stress include:
·         Changes in appetite -- either not eating or eating too much
·         Procrastinating and avoiding responsibilities
·         Increased use of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes
·         Exhibiting more nervous behaviors, such as nail biting, fidgeting, and pacing

Those are just the symptoms that you could be feeling at any given stressful moment, the more serious and damaging problems occur when there are periods of prolonged stress. Those consequences include:
·         Mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and personality disorders
·         Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, heart attacks, and stroke
·         Obesity and other eating disorders
·         Menstrual problems
·         Sexual dysfunction, such as impotence and premature ejaculation in men and loss of sexual desire in both men and women
·         Skin and hair problems, such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema, and permanent hair loss
·         Gastrointestinal problems, such as GERD, gastritis, ulcerative colitis, and irritable colon

So, here is where you would usual read about the “useful tips” that someone has for you in how to deal with stress… well, I am not going to do that. Whatever I say will work for some (if any) but not for others and, honestly, it depends on the stressor, situation, and individual. Sometimes I just stopped giving half a crap about while other things I have had to cut back on. In the end, it all comes down to what calms you regardless of what other people think… go to the range, play golf, take pictures, write, drive, paint, etc. I can’t tell you what will work for you. I know what works for me and that was hard enough to find.

However, I will say that you need to be aware of stress and whether it is effecting you. Also make sure to look out for your family, friends, coworkers and make sure that they don’t head down this path. Just be there for others and listen. What can also be helpful is a simple invitation to join you when you are looking to release your own stress (get your mind out of the gutter you dirty people). Sometimes this can be beneficial to both of you. I guess you could consider that my ‘useless tip’ for you, free of charge.