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Emotional stress Symptoms

Emotional signs of stress

From a long list of stressful jobs out there, perhaps the work of a talent agent is the most challenging one. How can we tell? Two words: Ari Gold.

A fictional character in the TV series Entourage, Gold is loud, jumpy, and always distressed. He takes prescribed pills to calm his nerves that threaten to jump out of his wits every time there is a hiccup. When your job is to make celebrities rich and happy, perhaps you have to leave your peace behind. Like Gold, who, from the inside is a good man and a friend, but from the outside, he is a personification of stress. Credit to the writers, the audience loves seeing him losing his temper.

Unlike fiction, however, there is no script in real life to make a gloomy subject like stress a laughter riot. Stress is scary and harmful. It works slowly and mysteriously, targeting your mind and snatching away your inner-peace. Everything stress touches becomes grey. What makes it worse is that it can’t be seen or measured, but only be felt. It wears a cloak of invisibility and breeds depression, illnesses, aging—making the wrinkles of concern deeper every day.

To defeat stress, you need to recognise the emotional signs that it leaves behind like evidence in a crime scene. These emotional signs could be behavioural patterns, change in habits, or display of abnormal attitude towards others. Often, we mistake such symptoms of stress for a bad mood or a bad day. If you continue to overlook stress, it could shapeshift into a more serious issue. To add some perspective, research by Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that one in five students in colleges considers suicide due to excessive stress.

In this feature, Soulveda shares a list of emotional signs of stress that need to be addressed to live a stress-free, peaceful life.

Emotional eating under stressful situations

For many, stress is a gateway for a food feast—they gorge on ice-creams, a bag of chips, or a pizza, despite a full stomach. Emotional eating under stressful situations is common. Release of the hunger hormone, Ghrelin, in your body makes you crave more carbohydrates and sugars, giving a false sense of relief. Studies suggest emotional stress eaters tend to maintain high levels of Ghrelin than regular eaters. However, once the phase passes, you’re left feeling guilty. Ultimately, doing more harm than good.

Be mindful of what you’re eating. Try maintaining a food journal, or simply pause and question your hunger pang. If your stomach is full, wait for the stress cravings to pass.

Frustration and anger get the best of you

Constantly thinking about your stressors and dwelling on them can be mentally exhausting. When you cannot put a finger on the reason behind your frustration it can make you feel even worse—causing you to lose your cool too often and mostly unnecessarily.

An easy way to deal with stress-related anger is to narrow down the reason first. Analyse your anger and where it stems from, then make a conscious effort to distract yourself. Try focused breathing exercises or just listen to some relaxing music to calm your nerves.

Emotional stress symptoms

Analyse your anger and where it stems from, then make a conscious effort to distract yourself.

You feel exhausted and overwhelmed

Your mind is incapable of differentiating a physical threat from an emotional stressor. It reacts the same way to an emotionally-draining fight with your partner as it would to an injury. Despite no physical activity, prolonged stress can make you feel exhausted and overwhelmed by emotions, sometimes causing extreme mood swings, panic, and anxiety.

Don’t lose your clarity. Counter your emotions by taking a walk in the open. Also, you can talk to someone you trust. It will help you get a fresh perspective on the situation.

Focus and confidence take a hit

Stress doesn’t allow you to pay attention to any task as your mind keeps racing with the possibilities of what-ifs and could haves. The lack of focus hits your productivity and you begin to undermine yourself, leading to a complete lack of motivation.

The best way to deal with negativity is to assess your thoughts and exercise self-awareness. Ask yourself, if your thoughts are telling the truth or whether it’s your anxiety speaking. Write down your negative thoughts, acknowledge them, and then tackle them individually. Reinforce positivity—trust your ability, steer clear of comparisons, maintain to-do lists and track your progress regularly.

A goodnight sleep becomes a dream

Dealing with stressful thoughts and tasks keeps your brain awake, and hence affecting your sleep patterns. Those suffering from insomnia usually complain of chronic stress that inhibits them from sleeping when they want to.

Relaxation techniques are useful to manage stress. Try meditation or throughout the day to curb your anxiety and get a goodnight’s sleep.

Dealing with procrastination

While in many cases, procrastination leads to stress, it could be your stress as well that makes you procrastinate. Procrastination gives your mind a false sense of relief. It also feeds your stress because you subconsciously know that you are delaying your tasks—you feel guilty and the guilt breeds anxiety.

Time management is the first step to beating procrastination. Create a plan and put a timeline for each task. Break down your task into smaller steps and reward yourself for each completed task.

The onset of drug addiction

Frequent smoke breaks or alcohol consumption are common stress-busters for many. Some even start using stronger drugs to get by. While drugs or alcohol consumption offers a sense of momentary relief, they can severely affect your health in the long run.

Once you’ve acknowledged the issue, seek help from trusted family, friends, or a therapist. Remind yourself why you need to quit and read about addiction that has destroyed so many lives. Remember, the stronger your self-awareness and will power is, the better the chances of overcoming addiction and stress.

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