Signs of stress show in altered sleep, fatigue, change in appetite, digestion, less tolerance/agitation, teary, shallow breathing, headaches, skin break out, rapid heartbeat, sweating, depression, feeling unwell and being off work sick often i.e. adrenal fatigue.
It could begin with little things that bother us, such as; the glare of sunlight, heat in a room, the sound of another’s voice, the constant dripping of a tap or the tapping of a pen by a colleague near us. Maybe you’re wondering if you’ve locked the door, turned the iron/oven off before leaving home.
What are the common causes of stress:
Major life changes
Work overload or deadlines
An impending conference call or meeting
A career or role change
Internal factors which can make stress worse:
Unrealistic expectations / perfectionism
Inability to accept uncertainty
Rigid thinking, lack of flexibility
Why stress can lead to anxiety
Stress is not anxiety yet can cross over and appear to be one in the same at times.
Anxiety is our body’s response to stress - more a fight, flight, or freeze response. When we feel threatened our body prepares us for action. Within milliseconds of sensing dan,ger our emotional brain causes a release of hormones, including adrenalin. Our hearing reduces, we breathe more deeply, our heart beats faster, our muscles are changed and our vision narrows.
Without knowing it we are subconsciously getting ready to take one of three options.
Fight – to stay and tackle the danger. Flight - run away from it and towards safety or Freeze – stay fixed to a spot, like a rabbit in headlights.
Stress and anxiety are not always bad. In the short term, they can help you overcome a challenge or a dangerous situation. However, if stress and anxiety begin interfering with your daily life, it may indicate a more serious issue.
If you are avoiding situations due to irrational fears, constantly worrying, or experiencing severe anxiety about a traumatic event weeks, months or years after it happened, it is time to seek help.
Chronic stress can also affect your health, causing symptoms from headaches, high blood pressure, and chest pain to heart palpitations, skin rashes, and loss of sleep.