We’ve all experienced stress! However, you might be surprised with all of the triggers, the many signs of stress - and the many forms of stress.
Stress is the body's reaction to harmful situations, whether real, or perceived. When we feel threatened, a chemical reaction in our brain occurs and allows us to react in a way to prevent injury. It is our stress response, or also known as "fight-or-flight,” or “freeze.”
With today’s busy, 24/7, always-on mode, it is common to feel stress in our lives with the stereotypical signs. But, what about those sly, sneaky signs of stress? For instance, if you find yourself behaving outside your norm, or noticing differences with your body, you may be experiencing stress without even realizing it. What are some of these unnoticed signs of stress? Let’s take a look!
Some signs are Physical:
- You don’t recover from colds as easily – Stress impacts our immune system making us more likely to get sick - and making it more difficult to fight infections.
- Skin Irritations – A "stress rash" may develop typically in the form of hives, cold sores, shingles, or other skin rashes and irritations.
- Excessive perspiration – This physical reaction is caused by increased adrenaline, often with our “fight-or-flight” response.
- You are super thirsty – Excessive stress causes dehydration. Our adrenal glands become fatigued working overtime, producing stress hormones and, in turn, under-producing the hormones that regulate our body fluids and electrolyte levels.
- Struggling to become pregnant - Although many factors affect fertility, it has been shown women with higher stress levels have more difficulty conceiving.
Some signs are Emotional, or Psychological:
- Procrastination – It becomes a vicious circle where we simply avoid tasks we don’t want to do and it creates even more stress when we don’t accomplish them.
- Engage in risky behaviors – For instance, rely too heavily on alcohol to relieve stress (vs. simply enjoying a cocktail or glass of wine). Or, we engage in (new) behaviors exposing us to physical, emotional, or psychological harm.
Some signs impact our Brain Function:
- Difficulty in making decisions – Stress directly impacts how we think. It is more difficult to make both big and small decisions when under stress.
- Strange, vivid dreams – While sleeping, our brains subconsciously manage negative and stressful emotions we haven't yet processed when we’re awake.
- We don’t feel as sharp – Stress negatively impacts our cognitive abilities and memory.
Researchers have also recently identified a more specific type of unnoticed stress people may not even be aware of, known as, Quiet Stress.
What is it? Quiet stress causes a person to underreact, versus reacting normally or even overreacting. It is when we quietly hold stress inside and not saying how we really feel. It may be thought of as: “going along to get along;” “taking one for the team;” or, “letting this one go.” In reality, we are (negatively) internalizing our real feelings.
Quiet stress also manifests itself in many different forms. However, since it is “quiet,” it often leads to prolonged stress, which becomes detrimental to our mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.
As we strive to be our best and to create balance in our lives, let’s remember to check in with our inner self. Let’s take notice of common signs, as well as both the unnoticed and quiet signs of stress. Let’s be proactive in taking care of our emotional and mental wellbeing to mitigate the unavoidable stress in our lives today.
Stress Management is a key topic area where our Guides are able to offer real-world tips, and more.
Our Guides can devise a personalized plan to combat the triggers, the signs, and enable a heightened sense of well-being for you. Be sure to ask your Guide about ways to manage your stress, or it’s a great starting point to get to know LifeGuides and book a Session, since there’s no denying we all experience stress.
Lori Hough is a Certified Life Coach, Relationship Coach & LifeGuide
As a LifeGuide, Lori's expertise includes: Self-Esteem, Self-Image; Thriving Relationships; Embracing Change; Healthy Habits Planning; Overcoming Fear; Stress Management; Resilience & Adaptability.