It seems now a days we all move through our days at a high rate of speed trying to get to the next meeting, the next task, and the next chore. Some have argued that “being busy and stressed” are the new ways to prove our success – if we’re not super busy then we’re not successful.
Stress can be positive or negative. If we experienced no level of stress in our lives we would probably never get out of bed! We feel the stress of hunger and we find food. We feel the stress to have money and we go to work. Experiencing stress to a certain level can be motivational and helps to keep us focused and alert, but past a certain point, stress becomes non-productive and can begin to cause physical and mental strains.
Some symptoms of too much stress:
· Cognitive – memory problems, seeing only negative, constant worry, poor judgement
· Physical – aches and pains, dizziness, chest pains, rapid heartbeat, frequent colds, diarrhea or constipation,
developing disease, and obesity
· Emotional – moodiness, agitation, irritability, feeling overwhelmed, depression or sadness, sense of isolation
· Behavioural – changes in amount you are eating, change in sleep patterns, isolating self from others, using alcohol or drugs to relax, nervous habits, and procrastinating or avoiding certain situations.
We each have our own limits for how much stress we can handle. It is important to know your own limit. If you feel that you are experiencing a high level of stress, it is important to begin by looking at what is causing the stress (called stressors). There are external stressors such as work place, financial problems, children and family, and relationship problems; and there are internal stressors such as negative thinking, lack of assertiveness, perfectionism, and unrealistic expectations.
The great news is that there are many ways to deal with excessive stress! My next blog will cover many of the ways to begin to handle stress.