Signs and symptoms of stress. Can you be stress-free?

Since actual manifestations of stress are different for each person, it is hard to identify some specific signs and symptoms of stress. In stressful situations people behave quite differently and sometimes even in a completely opposite ways. There are many physical and emotional signs and symptoms of stress. Although, as it was mentioned above, emotions and behavior in stressful situations may be different, still the most characteristic symptoms can be distinguished.

The following are most common signs and symptoms of stress. The more of them you’ll find true for you, the less you control your stress.

Cognitive (related to the consciousness) signs and symptoms of stress:

  • Difficulties learning new information
  • Inability to organize oneself, confusion, oblivisence
  • Difficulties with concentration
  • Anxiety or incoherent ideas and thoughts
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Shortsightedness
  • Pessimism
  • Constant worrying
  • Troublesome thoughts, insomnia, nightmares

Physical signs and symptoms of stress:

  • Heartburn, stomach pain
  • More frequent urination
  • General pain
  • Eructation and flatulence
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Grinding teeth
  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rapid heartbeat and chest pain
  • Stuttering
  • Recurrent colds
  • Tremors of lips, legs and hands
  • Humming, ringing of the ears
  • Muscle spasms, pain in the neck and back
  • Frequent flushing and sweating
  • Cold or sweaty hands, feet
  • Diminished sexual desire
  • Unexplained and frequent allergies
  • Fatigue, lethargy, weakness
  • Goose bumps, rash, itch
  • Dry mouth, swallowing difficulty

Behavioral signs and symptoms of stress:

  • Increased food intake or malnutrition
  • Isolation from other people
  • Smoking, alcohol and drugs consumption
  • Procrastination or neglect
  • Too long or short sleep
  • Inability to work effectively
  • Lies or excuses to cover up badly done work
  • Nervous habits. Obsessive or compulsive behavior
  • Gambling, computer games addiction or impulsive buying
  • Communication problems
  • Abnormal suspiciousness or protection
  • Rapid or mumbling speech

Emotional signs and symptoms of stress:

  • Irritation or hot temper
  • Feeling of loneliness and isolation
  • Sudden panic attacks
  • Petulance
  • Inability to relax
  • Feeling of workload
  • Overreaction to petty annoyances
  • Anxiety, worrying, a sense of guilt, nervousness
  • Depression
  • Frequent crying fits or suicidal thoughts
  • Hostility, anger, frustration
  • Frequent mood swings

What is the common reaction to a stress?

To describe the three most common reactions to a stress experts usually use an analogy with driving a car:

  • “Foot on the accelerator” – anger and excitement. This means a very excited, frantic and restless character.
  • “Foot on the brake” – unsociability and oppression. Patients tend to be isolated from the outside world with a very low emotional expression.
  • “Foot on both pedals” – tension and restraint. This means to “slow” in extreme situations, to be thrilled inside but look paralyzed to the others.

Note also that these signs and symptoms do not necessarily indicate the stress, since they may be associated with physical or mental disorders. Therefore, you must contact your doctor to identify the exact diagnosis.