It can lead to other health problems
Thu 28 Oct, 2010 13:00 pm BST
© Mikael Damkier - Fotolia.com
Between work, family obligations and money worries, it may all feel too overwhelming sometimes.
Of course, there is good stress and bad stress. The first one can motivate you to become more productive. The second kind, the type that makes you lose sleep, can actually be bad for your mental and physical health.
Here's a handy guide to help you assess whether you're stressed, how serious your stress is, and how to deal with it.
Stress warning signsOf course, different people deal with stress in different ways, but here is a list of mental and physical symptoms to help you understand if you're stressed.
The mental symptoms may involve you being:
- Always hungry, or having no appetite
- Crying often
- Have trouble sleeping and feel tired
- Have trouble concentrating
- Chest pains
- Constipation, or diarrhoea
- Cramps, or muscle aches
- Feeling dizzy, or fainting
- Engaging in nervous behavior like biting your nails
- Twitches, or experiencing pins and needles
- Feeling restless
- Having sexual problems, from erectile dysfunction to lowered sex drive
- Feeling breathless
- Can't sleep
How stress worksWhen you are in a stressful situation, your body releases the hormones cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline, and these go on to cause the physical symptoms of stress.
You may start sweating, and your blood pressure and heart rate may rise.
This, in turn, may undermine your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness, as well as lead your body to release fat and sugar into your blood stream, which may lead you to gain weight.
As stress raises your blood pressure, if you are stressed in the long term, you can develop high blood pressure, which in turn can increase your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke.
If you feel that you are suffering from stress, see you GP, but do not accept long term tranquilliser prescriptions.
Ask for help from a psychologist, stress counsellor, relaxation therapist, qualified hypnotherapist or even alternative therapist. If these do not work, you must go back to your GP for professional guidance.