Physical symptoms of stress include a pounding heart, an upset stomach, rapid pulse, cold hands, dry mouth, unexpected perspiration, skin rashes, diarrhea, insomnia, recurrent colds, headaches, fatigue, and muscle tension. Emotional symptoms of stress include anger, frustration, worry, fear, panic, anxiety and depression. Behavioural symptoms of stress include drinking, smoking, overeating and under-eating, toe-tapping, fast talking and engaging in high risk behaviours.

Keep a journal of your stress symptoms.
One way to get to the root of your stress-related problems is to keep a log of all the times you experience any of the above symptoms. Jot down pertinent information such as: Who were you with? What were you doing? And on a scale of one to ten, how strong were the symptoms? Once you begin to track your symptoms, you may uncover a particular person, place or thing that is causing them. You’ll begin to connect the dots between your symptoms of stress and your sources of stress.

Believe it or not, most people never take the time to keep track of their stress.
There are certain situations where it’s normal for you to feel stress symptoms: like the first time you are in charge of an important meeting, your first day on a new job, or the first time you try a challenging sport, like skiing or surfing. These are all examples of situations where it’s quite normal to feel nervous or stressed. As you grow more and more accustomed to these activities your stress symptoms usually begin to fade.

But what if your stress symptoms never seem to fade?
That’s when you know it’s time to make a change. Situations like dealing with a difficult boss, or dealing with difficult customers, or dealing with a boatload of financial pressure can lead you down the road to health problems. The trick is to seek solutions to these problems before your stress symptoms lead to stress-related DIS-EASE. And by keeping track of these symptoms for at least a week, preferably two, you will see which of your recurring stressors are causing you the most problems.

As the result of your own observations you may decide to cut back on overtime, request a meeting with HR to get help with a difficult boss, or hand off an annoying task or client to someone else who doesn’t mind it so much. Any stressor, if it bothers you enough, for long enough, can lead to health difficulties. Once you know what these stressors are, you’re halfway home to finding a solution. That’s why keeping track of your stress for at least a week, preferably two, is so important.

Things you can do about your Stress Symptoms

  1. Make a list of stress symptoms.
    Notice when and where you experience any of these symptoms over the next week.
  2. Try to establish a link.
    Notice when your symptoms occur and try to establish a link between the symptom and who or what might be causing them.
  3. Breathe deeply.
    Whenever you feel any stress symptoms, breathe deeply.
  4. Stress often starts in your mind and it can end there too.
    Don’t let yourself dwell on stressful thoughts. Consciously substitute a more pleasant thought.
  5. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

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