What is stress?

National Health Services (NHS), (2012) describes stress as the feeling of being under too much pressure. Pressure turns into stress when a person is unable to cope up with the situation. Reaction to stress varies from person to person. Thus, a situation that seems stressful to one individual may be motivating for another person.

Smith et al (2013) mentions modern life to be full of disturbances, deadlines, irritations and demands. Stress is a normal physical reaction to events that makes one feel threatened or upset ones mental/physical balance in some way. For instance: When you sense danger, irrespective of it being real or imaginary, the body’s defence mechanism kicks into rapid action. This process is known as “fight-or-flight” reaction / Stress response. In some cases the stress response also helps one meet his/ her goals. 

Signs and Symptoms of Stress overload:

Following are some of the most common cautioning signs and symptoms of stress. The more signs and symptoms you notice in one self, the closer one may be to stress overload.

Cognitive Symptoms:

• Memory problems
• Inability to concentrate
• Poor judgement
• Pessimistic nature
• Anxiety
• Constant worrying

Physical symptoms:

• Aches and pains
• Diarrhoea or constipation
• Nausea/ dizziness
• Chest pain, palpitation
• Loss of sex drive
• Frequent colds

Emotional symptoms:

• Mood swings
• Irritability
• Agitation/ inability to relax
• Overwhelmed feeling
• Loneliness of sense of isolation
• Depression or general unhappiness

Behavioral Symptoms:

• Over eating/ loss of appetite
• Over sleeping or lack of sleep
• Isolation from others
• Procrastinating /neglecting responsibilities
• Use of Alcohol/ cigarette / drug to relax
• Nervous habits (for example: pacing/ nail biting)