Am I Stressed?

I am often asked by my audience, "How do you know if you are stressed?" Well, it varies for everyone but there are some generalisations that can be made. Know that if you are feeling stressed then you may need to get some professional help, sooner rather than later.

What is stress? There is a saying 'If you think that you are stressed, you are'. And for most of us that is very true. Stress comes from your internal reaction to continued external pressure. When you become overwhelmed, there is a reaction in your body stemming from your fight or flight response whereby there are physical, mental and emotional changes. The emotional ones are the ones you need to control.

I was once diagnosed with accumulated stress disorder, continually thinking that I was stressed. I even used to say "I am so stressed", a lot. I wasn't stressed. I was under pressure and suffered burn out which lead to dark thoughts and suffering inside my head.

Many other situations can set off the same response - buying a home, a difficult boss, divorce, separation, traffic jams, the fear of something, etc. That is, if you let your thoughts wander down that 'stress' road. 

What are the symptoms of being stressed? There are over 50 of them and include diarrhoea, headaches, constant anxiousness and agitation, quick to react negatively, inability to sleep or to quiet your mind, aches and pains aligned with the spine, etc.

A common misconception is that shingles is a sign of stress. Shingles is a virus that lies dormant in the nervous system after the onset of chickenpox and usually occurs when you are run down or your immunity is low.  

So how do you stop yourself from getting stressed? There are several things that you can do that will ensure that you manage pressure so that is doesn't lead to stress? The three best things that you can do for yourself are;

·       Sleep – 7 to 8 hours is the recommended dose, unaided of course.

·       Exercise – 30-minute medium to fast paced walk every day.

·       Socialisation – Get out and talk to people, in person.

Other things that can also help include;

·       Managing your workload.

·       Resting for 10 minutes every 50 minutes.

·       Eating well – carbos for breakfast and protein every other meal.

·       Avoid sugars and processed food.

·       Control your thoughts, avoid thinking negatively.