I am Stressed!
Why Am I So Stressed?
We all say that we feel stressed from time to time, but how serious is it really?
You can feel stressed at work, looking after the kids or being stuck in grid-lock. It can be a temporary thing, lasting moments. Or it could be more long term.
Feeling worried and anxious can be a lonely experience as it is hard to subside. You may be able to talk to someone about it, but it may not go away as the root of the problem is still there. Whether it is a situation which has to change, or long term problems which can lead to mental health disorders, you may feel as though you are the only one going through it.
We suffer stress as it is our bodies natural defense to deal with danger. We become alert to situations to try and deal with them when adrenalin kicks in but sometimes stress can be too much. We can go into depression or breakdown when we cannot cope.
Side effects of stress
The physical effects of stress can include:
- Raised blood pressure
We could be walking around with high blood pressure without realizing it as there are minimal signs. Get your practice nurse or GP to check it for you. They will let you know what is normal for you. You can carry on monitoring it at home with a portable blood pressure machine if you are concerned but always seek advice.
- Heart problems
This is a more extreme side effect from long term anxiety. There are many heart problems from irregular heart beats to angina. Again, chat with a health professional who will help you change your lifestyle (if you need a health kick) or refer you to a specialist for more serious complaints.
Alopecia is when the hair falls out completely and may not grow back for some time, if at all. It can affect anyone for any reason, although it is said to be linked with stress.
- Bad sleeping habits
Insomnia is when we do not sleep at night, or sleep for minimal periods of time. Feeling anxious or finding it hard to unwind (from work or home life) tend to be the causes. Lack of routine can also contribute. Some people talk, yell out or suffer from nightmares when they are anxious, and in rare cases some people sleep walk without knowing it.
- Being bad tempered
If we are not calm or feel tired out it is easy to take it out on others. Work colleagues, children or family members can be the brunt of our grumpiness, so try and find some soothing methods before losing friends!
Treat yourself to a massage or try alternative therapy (such as acupuncture or Reiki) to relax the situation. Good old fashioned fresh air and exercise as well as healthy eating is also a great stress reliever.
If we suffer with anxiety it could possibly lead to panic attacks. There are many different reasons for the cause of a panic attack and there are different degrees of one. They tend to be psychological but the symptoms are quite physical.
Whatever triggers the attack (being in a situation, worry or a fear, such as an enclosed space), the sufferer will feel uncomfortable and frightened. It makes the heart beat fast, may cause a hot flush, dizziness and trembling. They can last for seconds, minutes or come over the individual in 'waves'.
Some people suffer with them for many years, but there are ways to subside the anxiety, help to deal with the panic attack or even prevent them from starting. Talking to your doctor or therapist will help with individual advice. Medication does not have to be the answer. Diet, change of lifestyle, keeping hydrated and re training your thoughts may be suggested.
Your GP may be able to refer you to a counsellor or offer hypnosis or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This helps us to think in a different way to look at stressful situations differently and deal with them better. Exercise and taking up Yoga can also be a useful way to cope and feel better, as well as ensuring we have a healthy diet. Small lifestyle changes can make quite a difference. Taking up a new hobby or learning a new skill can give us something to focus on and look at life more positively.
Chronic stress needs to be recognized before it makes us become unwell. Talking to close friends or family can help, but it can put pressure on them or they may find it hard to understand a situation they are not in themselves. A network in the community may be useful to meet others and share problems, or check the internet for genuine groups who can also network and give advice.