We are all hit by a bout of stress from time to time. Some more than others. It’s a fact of life. Part of understanding how to deal with stress when it does hit us is to have an overview of the four main symptoms of stress and what they are – psychological, emotional, physical and behavioural. So let’s dive in and take a look.
There are various psychological symptoms of stress. These often include not being able to concentrate because to you are distracted. This can go further by causing you to be forgetful or being so stressed it affects your ability to make rational decisions and choices.
Generally you will feel down and depressed as the stress weighs on your mind.
That in turn affects your mood which can lead to deeper psychological issues as your mood becomes worse and your mind races faster and faster seeking a way out of whatever is stressing you.
We mentioned mood above. Mood swings are an emotional symptom of stress.
You will likely feel irritable and tense as your mood becomes worse. You may even be angry and overwhelmed as you struggle to cope.
It’s not a good place to be in as your emotions get out of control due to whatever is stressing you.
The greater the stress the greater the effect on your emotions. It is important to recognise the emotional symptoms of stress at an early stage to recognise what is causing you stress and take stock on how to tackle it.
Stress has physical symptoms too. For example a loss of appetite leading to weight loss and other associated issues such as a lowered immune system leading to more susceptibility to illness.
Stress can also cause our natural bodily rhythms to go haywire. For example our bowel movements can become more or less regular. You may also experience chest pains due to increased heartbeat and even vomiting from that familiar feeling of a pit in your stomach.
When the stress event has passed your body usually adapts and returns to normal.
We all no doubt have some experience of the physical symptoms of stress as we know our bodies and how they react to different situations.
Another symptom of stress is behavioural. There’s some cross-over here from the psychological and physical symptoms. For example we’ve already mentioned appetite loss.
The ability to sleep soundly is one behavioural symptom of stress. Our minds are not at rest. When we go to bed our minds are racing so much with what is bothering us that we simply cannot sleep. Tossing and turning to try and find comfort and sleep to come – but it will not.
Depending on how the stress is affecting you another behavioural symptom is that you may withdraw from social contact and prefer your own company as you try to deal with the situation.
Here we have taken a brief look at the four main symptoms of stress and their typical characteristics. You can probably recognise all of them and how they affect you when you feel stressed.
The important step to take is positive action to seek to reduce and control whatever is stressing you.