Everybody handles stress differently. One person may blow up at people, yelling at them about what they did wrong. Another person may get anxious, forgetful or even start crying as their emotions boil over. And, a third person may take stress in stride—letting it come while they tackle it head on. Of course, these aren’t the only ways to handle it but they’re very unique ways. But how do you know when you’re stressed out? Let’s look at some of the warning signs.
First, there are cognitive symptoms. This implies how we think about stress. Our concentration may be fogged, for instance, as our boss is yelling at us about messing up at work. We could also have constant worrying or guilt over a situation. How many times have you said to yourself I wish I would have done (blank)? Stress may also effect how we intake new information, making it hard for us to learn or memorize it. Lastly, we may have disorganization, nightmares or poor judgement.
We may also have emotional symptoms related to stress. Our moods may rise and fall as we start to feel overwhelmed, depressed or unhappy. Depending on what’s happening, chances are we may feel irritable or have crying spells. There may be moments we feel worthless and feel as if we’re losing control. We find it hard to relax but we have to overcome this because we can beat stress. We are so much better than it.
Physical symptoms may also be burdensome. Think about the last time you really had anxiety. You may have had nervousness or shaky hands. Sweating, low energy, headaches, heart burn, insomnia and panic attacks may have all shown themselves to you. Or perhaps you had weakness, fatigue, aches and pains, excess belching, cold or sweaty hands, or grinding teeth. Rapid heartbeat, light-headedness, ringing of the ears, rashes and acne are all other signs of stress.
Finally, we have behavior symptoms. Stress is a powerful force and if these warning signs pop up then you should seek help. Look for such traits as a change in appetite, sleeping too much, overreactions, problems in communication or nervous habits such as nail biting. A person may also have low interest in their appearance, start stuttering or mumbling, or use lies to cover up anything they have done. Any impulsive behavior, such as drinking or gambling, can also be a big red flag. In addition, aggression, hostility, social withdrawal and isolation are all signs to look for in yourself or others.
The fact is, stress comes in many forms. If you let it get to you, that’s when you see the red flags pop up everywhere. What you do when you’re stressed out speaks volumes over your words. It’s better to scream into a pillow than to scream into the face of someone else. Or, write in a journal and tear it up afterwards. Bottom line: Stress only wins if you let it. Don’t let it win the war because you can shield yourself and come through it a warrior.