NYC Psychotherapist Blog

power by WikipediaMindmap

Monday, December 12, 2016

Recognizing the Signs When You're Under Too Much Stress

I've written about stress management in other articles, including: Addicted to StressHow Your Stress Can Affect Your Spouse and ChildrenFinding Inner Peace During Stressful Times and Self Soothing Techniques to Use When You're Under a Lot of Stress.  In this article, I'm focusing on learning to recognize when you're stress level is too high.

Recognizing the Signs When You're Under Too Much Stress

Why Wouldn't Someone Know When They're Under Too Much Stress?
It might seem unusual to pose the question of how you know when you're under too much stress.  After all, many people recognize the symptoms and complain about being too frazzled.

But people who have endured acute stress from childhood often don't recognize when their stress level is too high because they're so accustomed to acute stress and don't recognize it as being an unhealthy state.  It feels "normal" to them.  But enduring acute stress on a long term basis can have negative medical and psychological consequences.  I'll address these issues of in my next article.

One of the best ways to recognize that you're under too much stress is to observe the physical and psychological symptoms that are telltale signs of being under an unhealthy level of stress.

Many of these signs and symptoms can also involve other medical or psychological issues so, when in doubt, check with your medical doctor.

Warning Signs That You're Under Too Much Stress

Physical Symptoms:
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Eating too much
  • Muscle tension, aches and pains, including shoulder and back pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation, nausea 
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Rapid heartbeat and/or chest pain
  • Clenched jaw and grinding teeth, especially at night
  • Nightmares
  • Heartaches
  • Feeling tired most of the time
  • Low Energy most of the time
  • Difficulty relaxing, even when tired
  • High blood pressure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
  • Low libido, problems with sexual performance
  • Nervousness, shakiness, cold or sweaty hands and feet
  • Nail biting
  • Fidgeting
  • Pacing back and forth

How Do You Know When You're Under Too Much Stress?

Psychological Symptoms:
  • Feeling agitated, frustrated or moody
  • Losing your temper easily
  • Snapping at others
  • Feeling easily overwhelmed
  • Finding it difficulty to relax and quiet the mind
  • Racing thoughts
  • Isolating and avoiding others
  • Feeling less pleasure in socializing or engaging in things that were once pleasurable
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling helpless
  • Feeling worthless/low self esteem
  • Feeling depressed 
  • Feeling pessimistic or only seeing the negative side of things
  • Feeling anxious 
  • Worrying persistently
  • Feeling fearful and emotionally vulnerable
  • Abusing alcohol or drugs
  • Being forgetful 
  • Having problems focusing

Social Isolation: One of the Signs That You Might Be Under Too Much Stress

These are just some of the many telltale signs of being under too much stress and, as I mentioned earlier, some of these symptoms can be related to other medical and/or psychological problems.

Lifestyle Changes For Stress Management
There are lifestyle changes that you can make to help you manage your stress.

See my articles:

Next Article in the Psychotherapy Blog
In the next article, I'll be focusing specifically on people who grew up as children in families where there was chronic stress and the challenges that they have in recognizing when they're under too much stress as adults.

A certain amount of healthy stress is necessary to live life.

But chronic stress has a way of creeping up on you without you even being aware of it. Over time, chronic stress can have a physical and psychological debilitating effect.

If you're experiencing some of the symptoms mentioned above, you would be wise to consult with your medical doctor to rule out any medical problems since there are many medical issues that have the same symptoms.

Getting Help in Therapy
If your doctor has ruled out medical issues and you've made healthy lifestyle changes, but you're still overwhelmed by stress, you could benefit from working with a licensed mental health professional.

Getting Help in Therapy

A skilled, licensed psychotherapist can help you to get to the root of your problems so you can learn to manage your stress (see my articles: The Benefits of Therapy and How to Choose a Psychotherapist).

Getting help in therapy can make all the difference in the quality of your life.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

I have helped many clients to get to the root of their problems so they could manage their stress and live more fulfilling lives.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.