What Is Stress?
Stress is your body’s reaction to pressure from a certain situation or event. It can be a physical, mental, or emotional reaction.
We all deal with stress at some point in our lives. Maybe it’s your job, a family illness, or money troubles. These are common triggers. According to a recent study, about half of all Americans say they’re dealing with moderate stress.
Not all stress is bad. It can make you more aware of things around you and keep you more focused. In some cases, stress can give you strength and help you get more done.
Stress can affect all aspects of your life, including your emotions, behaviors, thinking ability, and physical health. No part of the body is immune. But, because people handle stress differently, symptoms of stress can vary. Symptoms can be vague and may be the same as those caused by medical conditions. So it is important to discuss them with your doctor. You may experience any of the following symptoms of stress.
Emotional symptoms of stress include:
Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody
Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control or need to take control
Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind
Feeling bad about yourself (low self-esteem), lonely, worthless, and depressed
Physical symptoms of stress include:
Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation, and nausea
Aches, pains, and tense muscles
Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
Frequent colds and infections
Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear, cold or sweaty hands and feet
Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
Clenched jaw and grinding teeth
Cognitive symptoms of stress include:
Forgetfulness and disorganization
Inability to focus
Being pessimistic or seeing only the negative side
Behavioral symptoms of stress include:
Changes in appetite -- either not eating or eating too much
Procrastinating and avoiding responsibilities
Increased use of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes
Exhibiting more nervous behaviors, such as nail biting, fidgeting, and pacing
Visit the links along the side for some helpful strategies for coping with stress.