Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Symptoms of Stress and How to Deal With Them

In Tuesday's blog post, I explored the inevitable changes that transitioning veterans face. However, change - and the stress that comes along with it - are not isolated to just veterans. It is important to recognize all the symptoms of stress. In order to manage stress, you need to first be able to recognize its cause and identify its signals - both in yourself and in others around you. There are four main symptoms of stress:

Cognitive Symptoms:
These symptoms are all related to the function of our brain. When experiencing cognitive symptoms you may have these issues:

  • Trouble remembering things
  • Challenges trying to remain focused
  • Making decisions with poor judgment
  • Constant worry, anxiousness or racing thoughts
  • Pessimistic approach or outlook

Emotional Symptoms:
Emotional symptoms affect how we feel and react to the world around us. A few examples of emotional symptoms:

  • Moodiness
  • Irritability or short-tempered
  • Trouble relaxing due to constant agitation
  • Feeling lonely, isolated or overwhelmed
  • Depression or overall unhappiness

Physical Symptoms:
Stress can manifest itself in so many ways, including within our bodies. Check to see if you are experiencing any of these physical symptoms:
  • Aches, pains and tension headaches
  • Intestinal issues 
  • Nausea or dizziness
  • Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
  • Frequent illness
  • Extreme temperature changes in the body

Behavioral Symptoms
These symptoms are observable actions or demeanor that we can observe when the stimuli of stress becomes overwhelming. Here are some key symptoms:
  • Eating more or less
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Isolating yourself from friends and family
  • Procrastinating
  • Neglecting important tasks
  • Using alcohol, cigarettes or drugs to escape
  • Nervous habits (nail biting, fidgeting, grinding teeth, etc.)

I would wager that most of us have experienced at least one of these symptoms. If you are like me, you have experienced one or more from each category! The question now is, what are you going to do about it? It is very important to have a stress management plan in place. Here are some ideas of how you can manage and control your stress levels:
  • Take the time to identify the cause of your stress. Determine if it is something you can change or modify and put a plan in place to deal with the issue.
  • Identify your support group and maintain relationships, no matter how much stress you experience.
  • Take good care of your body by eating healthy, getting enough sleep, exercising and minimizing caffeine and alcohol.
  • Don't let go of the things that bring you joy. Even in the midst of a very stressful job search you should still take time for yourself to enjoy your passions, hobbies, and recreational activities.

No comments:

Post a Comment