Recognizing Stress

Your body is telling you something

Stress affects each person in different ways. Acute, or short-term stress, can be beneficial to most people.  However, exposure to stress for a prolonged period can take a toll on a person’s body, thoughts, feelings, and behavior. This chronic stress can affect a person’s overall wellness putting them at increased risk for adverse health conditions.

Everybody’s system is different so each person will experience different symptoms, if any, when they are stressed. Feeling stressed is normal, what is dangerous though is when one is so stressed that they stop noticing how it affects them, so It is important to recognize signs of stress early on. Stress can affect people physically, emotionally and cognitively as well as affect how they behave.

Physical – Changes to your body and how it reacts

  • Tightness in chest
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Headaches
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Tiredness
  • Sleep issues – insomnia or oversleeping
  • Backaches

Emotional – Changes to your mood, thoughts, and feelings

  • Moodiness
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Lack of motivation
  • Anger
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Worrying
  • Feeling of helplessness

Cognitive – Changes how your brain functions

  • Trouble concentrating
  • Memory issues
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Poor attention to detail

Behavioral – Change in behavior or habits

  • Eating more or not eating at all
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Substance use/abuse – cigarette, alcohol, drugs
  • Aggressive outbursts / violence
  • Withdrawal from family and friends