3 Indicators to Know If You Are Stressed

3 Indicators to Know If You Are Stressed

by Guadalupe Gómez Baides 20/02/2018

Am I under stress?

Although there is a type of stress which is positive and beneficial, when we talk about feeling stressed, we mean the feeling when our active behaviour is too high, and we begin to notice symptoms of exhaustion.

It is important to know if we have reached the point of exhaustion or we are close to reach it, as it is very harmful to our body, our mental health (or emotional health) and our relationships with others.

We like to think that we know when we are stressed; we have a false sense of control over our body. It is true that we can know it, but not without being aware of it, understanding a little bit what stress is and self-reflecting. Certainly the body warns us, but not as clearly as we would like… So, how do you answer yourself “Am I under stress or not?”?

Let’s take a look of some “warnings” that our body and mind give us:

 

Emotional Indicators

When stress becomes chronic and begins to be damaging to health, it is often accompanied by feelings of “not coming”, from overwhelm to distress, a restlessness, an over-demanded feeling and that horrible feeling that you need that your days have more hours to cover more things.

Also when we are under stress we become more irritable. Studies show that when you suffer from stress, you can easier resist to those “really important things” like divorce, death, illness of a child; but it is harder to endure in everything else, that means: any nonsense affects us a lot! This explains why many people react so aggressively to minor car accidents or to a sports result.

 

Cognitive-behavioral indicators

All the cognitive clarity that gives a small dose of stress is lost when the stress is more intense and expands over time. The first thing you notice is that you are not so “awake”, it is hard to concentrate, it is difficult to make decisions, the right word that we are looking for does not appear, we do not withhold information easily, etc.

From the point of view of behaviour, we “reward” us more often with those things that we know they are bad (cigarettes, alcohol, chocolate, ice cream, etc.). Each person has his/her own and some have several 😉

 

Physical indicators

When our stress reaches a too high a level, the digestive tract warns us, but to notice it before it is too late, we must pay close attention and keep calm. If not, we will have developed some type of gastritis (when not ulcer) and/or we will have some irritable bowel syndrome (if not Crohn’s disease).

The breathing is more superficial, and we breathe only with the upper part of the lungs. This may be evident but we are not used to observe it… 

The third and the one who suffers the most is always the quality of sleep. In quality, quantity or both at once. I don’t know if we all understand the absolute importance of sleeping good in our lives (when I look around, I would say: we don’t). From the physiological point of view it is totally vital but we often forget that, from the emotional point of view, the lack of sleep is devastating. What’s worse, when sleeping badly we have more stress, and the more stress we get, the worse we sleep and so we enter a vicious circle that can end our physical and psychological health, our quality of life, and our life itself. 

So, what would you answer to the question “Am I under stress?”?

 

 

Guadalupe is the founder and Academic Director of the Cegos School of Executive Coaching www.cegos.es. She’s certified by the International Coach Federation (ICF) since 2005 and has more than 4000 hours of coaching experience (individual and team coaching). Follow Guadalupe on Twitter @GGomezBaides. Guadalupe Gómez Baides

Cegos

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