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Stress; Signs and Symptoms and the Best ways to Manage Effectively to get back on Top

Updated on January 11, 2016
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Jo has been an ITU nurse at the London North West NHS Trust for 14 years. She obtained her RN at University College London Hospital.

Combat stress by maintaining an active lifestyle such as gardening
Combat stress by maintaining an active lifestyle such as gardening | Source
Research shows, having a pet can reduce stress levels
Research shows, having a pet can reduce stress levels | Source

Stress; Signs and Symptoms, and the best way to Manage Effectively

What is Stress

Stress is not an illness, but when we ignore it, it can cause serious illness.

Is it necessary to experience some stress?: We are said to be stressed when we display signs of being under too much emotional or mental pressure. We've all experienced some degree of stress in our lives; stress is the body's way of allowing us to adapt. One might even say a level of stress is necessary to function properly in our work and daily lives. It is our mechanism for coping. In my experience, some people seem to handle stress much better than others.

I've witnessed people go to pieces, due to the stress of standing in front an audience to give a presentation, while there are others who appear to be driven to perform, they are always at an optimal level, producing their best work under stress. Some people seem to thrive on the rush of adrenaline that comes with stressful situations. Stress hormones give them the edge, allowing them to perform better.

We experience a degree of stress from the moment we wake up in the morning, as we try to be on time for work and start to plan our day. For some, the major problem can be stress at work, causing dread and apprehension the moment we open our eyes.

Working parents must cope with the stress of getting the children fed and off to school every morning, keep up the daily routines of juggling lives to maintain a proper work and home balance. Modern life is pressure driven, most people compete at work, raise children and attempt to keep the perfect home for themselves and their families if we can not find ways to relieve that pressure we will pay the price.

Signs and Symptoms of Stress

Stress can affect different people in different ways, but there are some common symptoms. Stress can influence your behavior, how you think and feel and the way your body functions. When we're stressed we become easily irritated, display signs of anxiety with low mood and low self-esteem, we worry more and seem to imagine the worst.

When stressed, many of us tend to drink more alcohol and smoke more, we may change our eating habits, become much more erratic and more of a loner. During stressful periods we socialize less, we become forgetful, experience headaches, muscle tension, pain, stomach discomfort, dry mouth, breathlessness, dizziness, excessive sweating, insomnia and sexual problems.

When we are aware of the way in which stress can affect us personally, we are better able to devise the appropriate coping technique and avoid the unhealthy habits that we resort to for comfort.

Stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline are released into the blood stream in reaction to pressure or perceived threat. This action by the body prepares us for fight or flight; the hormonal levels soon returns to normal when the danger has passed. However; if the stress or threat is sustained and prolonged, the hormones will remain in the body and can be damaging to our overall health.

Excessive stress can damage the body's system resulting in:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure) can lead to stroke, heart attack and aneurysm
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Impaired immunity
  • Loss of minerals from the bones
  • Disease of the arteries
  • Damages to the nerve cells in the brain
  • Obesity

Managing Stress

Managing stress can be a complicated process. We need to develop some healthy coping strategies to protect ourselves. The first step to managing stress is recognizing that there is a problem and that you are not coping as well as you should, knowing when things are getting on top of you.

The causes of anxiety and stress are stressors; some common stressors are:

  • Lack of money and debts
  • Death of a loved one
  • Moving home
  • Problems at work
  • Unemployment
  • Divorce
  • Relationship and family problems
  • Difficulties with finding good child care
  • Ill health
  • Bad past experiences, which are unresolved and are still impacting on the present
  • Bullying and harassment
  • Experiencing discrimination

These are only a few of the things that can cause pressure and stress, I'm sure everyone could easily add to this list. With so many factors conspiring against us, it is easy to believe that there is nothing one can do to combat stress and prevent the progression into depressive illness. However; there are ways to help yourself, here are a few coping strategies:

  1. Healthy eating, when possible try sitting down to eat, join friends and family, reduce the number of TV dinners, get your five a day fruit and vegetables. Where possible, try to cook more meals from scratch. Make time to eat a healthy breakfast. Consider cutting out alcohol and caffeine, if not reduce your intake.
  2. Enough Sleep getting sufficient good quality sleep is vital, so, early to bed, early to rise, the old rhymes are still relevant and very sensible. Lack of sleep can result in a depletion of energy, irritable and tiredness, conversely, stress can also cause insomnia
  3. Maintain an active lifestyle, research shows that regular exercise can cause the body to produce more feel-good hormones and is also beneficial for the heart and circulation, exercise can lower cholesterol levels and help to reduce incidents of obesity.
  4. Relaxation, make time to relax and have fun, try yoga good for the mind and the body
  5. Think positively
  6. Make changes in your life for the better, look at your life, identify where you can benefit from certain changes, if it helps, make a list of the changes you wish to implement.
  7. Focus on small steps, make short, and long term goals make them realistic and achievable, don't attempt to do anything that may be too difficult to begin with, remember small steps
  8. Deal with stressful problems do not ignore financial problems. Contact your creditors make an offer to pay off your debts by making small installments that you can afford. Seek help and financial advice.
  9. Discuss problems with your partner or spouse, family and friends may wish to help
  10. Contact your doctor or health-care provider before symptoms become worst.

In conclusion, stress can be positive or negative, we can make it work for us in the short terms, it can help us take creative risks to become more productive, allowing us to enhance our performances, but stress should be managed and monitored.

Steps should be taken to relieve stress before it become a problem and work against us in the long term.

De-stress by finding a calm place for relaxation
De-stress by finding a calm place for relaxation | Source


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    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 5 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Doc, I attempted to respond to this last night, but my iPad locked me out and of course, I was away from home. Sorry about that, but thank you for checking this article out and for the insightful comment, much appreciated.

      I'm so stressed out at the moment, I think it's time to take some of my own advice, and yes , I'll try the breathing exercises :). Catch you later.

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 5 years ago

      very clear and informative hub. These are good coping strategies to deal with stress. While stress can be a good motivator for some people, too much of it can actually backfire. When you find yourself getting out of control, breathe in and breathe out or think of some peaceful scene anything you can do to keep those emotions in check. oh and by the way, that picture cracked me up! stressed out my ass! LMAO... voting up!

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 5 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      InterSpaceWriting, you are very welcome, and thanks for stopping by much appreciated.

    • InterSpaceWriting profile image

      David Pinkney 5 years ago from UK

      Very Good Information.

      Thanks for the Hub :)

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 5 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Loseraspie, nice to see you, chamomile is another great idea, thank you for the input much appreciated.

    • profile image

      loseraspie 5 years ago

      Chamomile Tea is a good way to get rid of stress.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 5 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Peanutritious, thank you for reading this, I'm always looking for new ways to reduce stress levels and the sleep app look promising!...the sound of heavy rain always work for me, I may just try the free app, thank you for the tip.

    • Peanutritious profile image

      Tara Carbery 5 years ago from Cheshire, UK

      A timely and useful hub. We have so many worries and expectations to live up to. So many of us are losing our jobs and there aren't enough to get another one. People are trapped in jobs that pay the minimum with maximum stress!

      I struggle with sleep sometimes which makes me struggle the next day. A good nights sleep is essential to function normally. I downloaded a free sleep app yesterday and fell asleep to the sound of heavy rain. I had the best nights sleep i've had in ages! Hope it carries on working!

      Voted up and shared.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 5 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi buddhaanalysis, after all the rain, snow and subzero temperatures we've been having, I could really use some of that hot weather stress right now :). Thank you for stopping by, and best wishes to you.

    • profile image

      buddhaanalysis 5 years ago

      High temperature of weather also causes stress.Willing to move to country having moderate weather.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 5 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      jainismus, lovely to see you!...thank you for taking a look and for sharing, much appreciated.

      My best to you.

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 5 years ago from Pune, India

      Excellent Hub with very useful information. Thank you for sharing.

      Voted up and shared with followers.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 6 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Rusticliving, many thanks for the comment and for the visit, so glad you liked it, thank you again for the encouragement.

    • Rusticliving profile image

      Elizabeth Rayen 6 years ago from California

      Wow! You hit this topic right on the head! Great job and excellent information! Voted up and useful!

      ~Lisa RusticLiving

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 6 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Debbie welcome, and yes, I totally agree with you.

      We're so busy trying to compete and prove ourselves in today's world, we seem to be missing what is really important until it's too late, luckily, for some there is still time, we just need to learn how to stop and reclaim our lives.

    • debbie roberts profile image

      Debbie Roberts 6 years ago from Greece

      I think in today's society people except stress too easily as part of life and don't do enough to lower their stress levels. If people can learn to take a bit of 'time out' for themselves,even half an hour to do something for themselves, learn to say 'No' sometimes and maybe even lower their expectations of themselves and others, then it could help to lower stress levels and improve quality of life.

      As you've said in your hub, positive and realistic thinking is a good habit to practise and it can help to take a good look at where changes can be made in our lives to help reduce stress and implement those changes. Life can be too short after all...

      A good hub I enjoyed reading.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 6 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      I know exactly how you felt, I'm going through the same thing at the moment, I still enjoy the work but it's so very stressful and getting worst.

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 6 years ago from Reno NV

      This is why I no longer work in Hospitals. I started hospital work when I was nineteen and stopped six years ago. It was too much stress for too long. Now I just do research. Voted Up!

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 6 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Thank you rastamermaid, for the kind comment and your vote, well appreciated

    • Rastamermaid profile image

      Rastamermaid 6 years ago from Universe

      Interesting hub,voted up!

      Thanks for sharing!


    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 6 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi rasta1, thank you for the comment, stress is good, but not too much for too long, like most things a little does you good, but overdo it, and you've got problems.

    • rasta1 profile image

      Marvin Parke 6 years ago from Jamaica

      Good information, stress is what keeps us going on and on