Experts describe stress as the feeling that occurs when we are overloaded and struggle to cope with everyday demands. While some people thrive on the adrenaline of stress, others can feel weighed down by the “fight-or-flight” aspect of the experience.
Stress wears many costumes. It can affect us physically and emotionally in ways that you might not think are possible. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), the average stress level among Americans is 4.9 to 5.1 on a scale of 1 to 10 -mainly driven by money and employment.
However, multiple events might trigger stress in our lives including:
- Loss of a loved one
- Job change (voluntary or involuntary)
- New relationships
- Ending relationships
- Become a parent
- Loss of a pregnancy
Physical Responses to Stress
Each of our bodies responds differently to stressful situations. One event may not elicit the same response in your body as it might your best friend.
Our bodies undergo a series of chemical reactions to stress, triggering a set of physical responses to stress including:
- Frequent illness such as colds or infections
- Stomach problems
- Limited to no energy
- Racing heart
- Difficulty sleeping
- Poor appetite
Emotional Signs of Stress
Although short-term stress generally does not prove too damaging to our physical or mental health, long-term emotions can prove devastating over a period to our emotional well-being.
5 Emotional Manifestations Of Stress
1| Feelings of being Overwhelmed
Stress can leave you feeling flooded like a broken levee in a storm with emotions you are unable to manage. It is notorious for disrupting your capacity to cope in what some might classify as normal situations. These feelings of overwhelm can manifest in the form of irritation, exhaustion, and nothing in the way of motivation.
Tip: If you are to patch up the broken levee of emotions, there are a few steps you must take. First, you will have to accept that stress and anxiety are contributing to these feelings. Next, you will need to focus on ways to set reasonable goals for converting these negative emotions into positive actions that lead to a resolution.
Also, make it a point to step away from multi-tasking. Not very many of us can do it well, and continue to function in such a capacity will only continue to contribute to your feelings of being stressed. Finally, focus on now and what you can handle minute to minute (Psychcentral.com).
2| Low Self-Esteem
Self-esteem is a predictor of our overall health and well-being. Also, self-esteem is our perception of our general skills, knowledge, and ability and plays a distinct role in our thoughts and actions. As stress levels rise, our self-esteem can move in the opposite, magnifying that our ability to cope with difficult times is at an all-time low (Journal of Health Psychology).
Tip: Want to reclaim your self-esteem? Learn how to kill those negative thoughts floating through your head. Identify methods that help you cope with stressful situations.
Consider journaling. Capture the events that contribute to your feelings of stress that trigger emotional responses.
This action may occur including exercising, meditation, or talking with someone about your problems.
3| Feelings of Worthlessness
Chronic stress can trigger symptoms we commonly associate with depression. When these symptoms materialize, they can affect our productivity, including our desire to even get out of the bed. It can leave you feeling like there is no way out.
Tip: Although there are standard actions we can take like getting adequate sleep, eating well, or leveraging natural methods for stress relief, there are times when you may need to seek the help of a mental health professional. He or she can help you to identify complimentary treatments, cognitive behavioral therapy or prescribe medications if necessary to aid in treating any chemical imbalances that may exist.
4| The Desire to Avoid Others
Avoidance is a classic response to stress. When we are feeling stressed, sometimes, all we want to do is lay low and stay off of the radar. We avoid going out into public or speaking with certain individuals, or we merely choose to dodge any situation that might leave us feeling inadequate or feeling “less than.”
Tip: Look for ways to address each situation head-on.
The release of stress hormones into our body can bring about a swing in our mood. As it pertains to stress, mood swings can appear in response to just about anything because our senses are heightened thanks to the persistent presence of stress hormones.
Tip: To rid yourself of moodiness associated with stress, try making modifications to your diet. Stay away from unhealthy foods that may heighten your symptoms. Check your prescription medications for any wieldy side effects. They may be the cause of some of your mood swings. Finally, seek support from friends, family or other support groups.