Stress gives our body adrenaline and energy to respond immediately and effectively at critical situations, such as studying for an important exam or completing an urgent project. However, if unchecked, prolonged and excess stress can build up to unhealthy levels, and may affect other areas of our lives.
Recognising The Symptoms of Excess Stress
- Headaches: Headaches can present itself as pain in the head or neck area. It can be triggered by a variety of reasons including lack of sleep, dehydration, alcohol consumption, sinus, or allergy, and may be hard to pinpoint as a result of stress.
- Changes in sleep patterns: Stress may result in sleeping too little, too much, or constantly waking up at night. If you find yourself constantly tired during the day, it could suggest that your sleep has been less than ideal. It may be worthwhile to get a smartwatch that can help track sleeping patterns and spot any irregularities
- Appetite Issues: Everyone has different coping mechanisms for stress. Some may totally reject food while some may find comfort in binge eating. If you are losing or gaining weight in a very short amount of time, it could be a sign of excessive stress
- Digestive issues: Stress can cause constipation or diarrhoea, and yet we often pin it down to something we ate that that caused the diarrhoea or try to increase our intake of fibre to combat constipation. The link between your gut and brain is closer than you think and there is even a name for it, known as the “gut-brain axis.”
- Feeling anxious or restless: You might experience sensations of dizziness, rapid breathing, or a fast heartbeat.
- Lacking motivation: You may feel a lack of focus in whatever you do, even activities that you have previously enjoyed
- Easily irritated or angered: Stress can constantly put you on edge and even the smallest events or things that others say may trigger an anger response. If you find yourself suddenly quarrelling a lot, it may be a symptom of stress that has manifested into arguments with loved ones.
6 Practical Tips To Relieve Stress
When to Seek Professional Help
If your symptoms continue and do not ease despite taking some of the steps to relieve stress, you may want to seek professional help. Schedule a 1-hour video call with a licensed Psychologist on Doctor Anywhere app.
If symptoms worsen and you experience shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, nausea, seek emergency help immediately as these may be signs of a heart attack.