In the first part of these series, we shared information about what stress is, how it affects us and some common stressors, in this second part, we are looking into the warning signs and symptoms of stress. You will benefit immensely from this article not just by reading it but by also looking through your lifestyle and having a self-analysis as regards each of the signs and symptoms as it applies to you because the more aware you are about stress, the easier it is to keep it at bay. Try to make it more practical by writing down one or more of these signs and symptoms that you have experienced persistently in this year and how it has affected an aspect of your life.
Here are some common signs and symptoms of stress:
- Frequent headaches: if you experience persistent headaches such that you have to constantly be on medications, it is as a result of unchecked stress.
- Tiredness and weakness: a lowered energy level is a sign of stress, if for instance you suddenly easily get tired and weak consistently, you may need to consider it as a warning sign.
- Unwanted/unplanned weight gain/loss: stress can led you to eat more than required (especially unhealthy foods) or make you loss appetite completely thereby causing unhealthy weight gain or weight loss which you have not bargained for.
- Tremors/ fidgeting: have you ever wondered why some people seem to have tremors or fidgets like hand tremors? well, that is something that could be as a result of stress. so if you ever find yourself experiencing tremors or fidgeting, then, stress may be the reason.
- Decreased work efficiency/productivity: used to be highly productive?, used to be very efficient?, what happened along the way? stress happened! stress can lower your productivity by starting in subtle ways and ending with damaging results if not checked.
- Nervousness: the more your stress levels, the more nervous you can become.
- Reduced sexual desire/libido: because stress affects the reproductive system as well, it can result in serious complications such as a low sex drive or loss of libido and this will in turn cause problems in the relationship between couples.
- Racing thoughts: having rapid thought patterns can be as a result of stress.
- Difficulties with concentration/attention: finding it difficult to concentrate on a task or having struggles with attention could be as a result of stress.
- Insomnia: this is a sleep disorder often characterized with difficulties sleeping (falling asleep and staying asleep) in the absence other health conditions, it could be as a result of stress.
- Mood swings: this is a noticeable change in a person’s mood or emotional state that is a very common sign of stress. If you have noticed changes in your moods or you are experiencing unstable moods, it is is probably due to stress.
- Anxiety: is an unpleasant state associated with nervous behaviour, worrying, apprehension and fear and can interfere with a person’s functioning.
- Forgetfulness: the tendency to forget things is more likely to happen when stress is involved.
Having listed these signs and symptoms, it is important to know how to properly manage stress. Practical ways to manage stress will be the topic of discussion in the next article.
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