What are the signs of stress?
The symptoms of stress include:
- headaches, aches and pains
- irritability and anger
- inability to focus
- feeling out of control
- feeling moody and tearful
- high blood pressure
- weakened immune system
- heart disease
- indigestion, diarrhoea and nausea
Types of stress
- Acute stress is brief, and situation specific such as a deadline, a performance or facing up to a challenge.
- Episodic acute stress: Some people may experience acute stress repeatedly. These repetitive stress episodes may be due to a string of really stressful situations such as the death of a parent, followed by the loss of a job followed by a car accident. Some people tend to add to their stress by acting like a ‘stress machine’, by worrying endlessly about worse case scenarios that could happen or by being impatient and being always in a rush or having poor time management.
- Chronic stress: This kind of stress occurs when ongoing demands, pressures and worries seem to go on forever. Chronic stress is very harmful to people’s health and happiness because it wears people down.
When to seek help
If high levels of stress persist for a long time and are interfering with your life, it is time to seek professional help. A psychologist will help you identify behaviours and situations that are causing the high stress and help you make changes to whatever is in your control. Just the act of seeking help is one way of managing your stress effectively because it means that you have decided to take control of the situation. A psychologist may also suggest meditative interventions to regulate your physiology, to develop and strengthen your awareness and to integrate your internal and external states.