The Wardley Wellbeing Hub is the central area for the ACTNow campaign.
Understanding stress and recognising your own personal warning signs
It is important to recognise when you are stressed so you can take steps to deal with it. There are many common signs and symptoms – see our list below of stress symptoms.
To see whether you are stressed you could try the Stress Management Society’s online stress test.
If a majority of the symptoms below apply to you, consider taking action to tackle the stress.
- asthma or breathlessness
- chest pains
- cramps or muscle spasms
- fainting spells
- headaches or migraine
- heart attack
- high blood pressure
- peptic ulcers
- rheumatoid arthritis
- sexual difficulties
- skin disorders
- tendency to sweat
- sleep problems
- recurring illness
- tremors and nervous tics.
- loss of interest in others
- denying there is a problem
- dread of the future
- fearing failure
- feeling alone
- feeling neglected
- increased irritability and a loss of interest in others
- heightened sensitivity to criticism
- loss of concentration
- loss of sense of humour
- taking no interest in life
- thinking you are bad or ugly
- unable to show true feelings.
- avoiding difficult situations
- craving for food
- difficulty getting to sleep and early morning waking
- drinking and smoking more
- lack of appetite
- restlessness/unable to settle
- difficulty concentrating
- lots of things on the go
- signs of tension, such as nail biting
- unable to make decisions.
The stress symptoms mentioned above can be short-lived if you take steps to relieve yourself from stress or pro-actively avoid becoming stressed.
If you experience continuous stress and find that the symptoms do not go away, it could be a sign of depression. In which case, it would be advisable for you to consult your GP. Seeking professional help early may potentially avoid further psychological problems such as post traumatic stress disorder or cumulative stress disorder which can be caused by continual stress .
The body’s reaction
When we are under stress our muscles tense, our blood pressure rises and the heart beats faster. We breathe faster to speed up the time it takes to get oxygen into our blood. To divert as much blood as possible to our limbs our digestion is interrupted, saliva dries up and the muscles to the bowel and bladder relax which allows it to release waste and make the body lighter. More sweat is produced and the body becomes flooded with stress hormones. All of this is a natural reaction in the body to allow for the ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ response. Once the threat has passed the body should relax and return to its normal state.
Our ancient physical emergencies have now been replaced by perceived modern day psychological threats. However, instead of using these stress hormones in emergencies, we now activate them all the time and often don’t give our bodies or minds sufficient time to rest after each stress-filled moment.