Stress is the mind’s way of warning us about an existing danger or potential harm. It stimulates us to take remedial or precautionary action. It is not as severe as anxiety but it can lead to anxiety if we do not have the skills to keep it under control.
Chronic stress is a response to emotional pressure suffered over a long period of time which causes us to perceive that we have little or no control over the outcome of a long-term event or a series of short-term events. We may experience harmful emotional and physical effects as a result of the prolonged stress.
Here are some of the most common signs that our stress level has exceeded manageable thresholds and is at a point where an external intervention is required to stabilise.
- Constant worrying, frustration
- Uncertainty, indecision
- Poor judgement ability
- Predictions of doom
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Poor mental concentration
- Poor short-term memory
- Poor self-image, guilt
- Irritable, short tempered
- Moody, aggressive outbursts
- Negative outlook, intolerance
- Deflecting blame, rationalising
- Nervousness, impatience
- Avoiding conversations
- Loneliness, isolation
- Relationship problems
- Marital discord, child abuse
- Restlessness, inability to relax
- Unstable sleeping pattern
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Procrastination, neglecting tasks
- Muscle tension, muscle fatigue
- Stomach, abdominal aches
- Chest pain, rapid pulse, palpitations
- Frequent sickness, general fatigue
- Delusions, conspiracy accusations
- Depression, severe unhappiness
- Abusing alcohol, cigarettes, drugs
Chronic stress symptoms are different for each person and usually very difficult to identify by yourself. To some degree, each of the above symptoms may be more or less applicable in chronic stress sufferers. If you can identify with three or more of the above bullet points, speak to one of our expert counsellors about a personal assessment for understanding your chronic stress cycles or visit our guide to dealing with chronic stress here.