So You’re Showing Signs of Stress: Ways to Cope with Emotional Symptoms of Stress and Physical Symptoms of Severe Stress (Part 2)

May 19, 2010

When you begin to feel or show signs of stress, it’s really important that you take action immediately. Stress can negatively influence almost every ailment you can have: it can prolong a cold, worsen a headache, and if you have a more severe bacteria or virus, it can make your body a more fertile breeding ground for it. Chronic stress can hamper your life in a number of other ways, as well.

With stress, the symptoms can feed back and worsen your anxiety. That’s why it’s important to treat the symptoms as well as practice stress reductions techniques, because treating the symptoms can be a stress reduction technique in itself.

  • Some people have trouble performing when under stress, and may be inefficient at their work, or have trouble recalling information or remembering new things. Keep pen and paper (or a good phone app) handy so that you can make to-do lists, write down new information (like the name of a new colleague), and set reminders for yourself. Also try taking deep breaths and clearing your mental shuffling before you begin a task/make an acquaintance, so that whatever you do has your full attention.
  • A Tension Headache, or Muscle Tension, especially if caused by Jaw Clenching/Teeth Grinding needs to be treated at the source: if you catch yourself tensing/clenching/grinding, stop yourself, take a deep breath, and either remember that it’s not helpful or replace it with a healthier form of stress relief, such as a five minute break, a short walk, or a ball that you can roll around your hand.
  • Many people under stress experience Stomach Troubles. The exact nature of these vary from person to person and range from constipation to stomach pains to diarrhea. Both enzymes and probiotics are great for improving digestion and easing symptoms.  Stress can negatively affect the amount of probiotics in your system, so replenish them with yogurt and other foods that contain natural sources of live cultures. Another solution may be to modify your diet: increase fiber if you’re prone to constipation; reduce the amount of caffeine and processed sugars your eating and opt for a more stable supplier of energy such as complex carbs and lean protein such as chicken, fish, or, for a quick snack, peanut butter; for stomach aches try reducing the acidic foods you’re eating or balance them with more basic foods (but avoid popping antacids, which can have short term consequences such as constapation and diarrhea, as well as long term effects on the amount of stomach acid your body produces).
  • Taking a short nap, adjusting your temperature, massage, and taking a moment to relax may help reduce a headache. Drinking plenty of water is also a must.
  • Other signs of stress such as sweating, blushing, shaking, fidgeting, trouble speaking (mumbling, stuttering, or speaking quickly), and panic or anxiety attacks require the same technique as stress reduction: pause, identify what’s happening, and mentally take control of it. This will probably involve taking a deep breath, evaluating the situation, and going forward at a slow, controlled pace.

If you are unable to deal with stress on your own, or you have increasing thoughts that are depressed, masochistic, or suicidal seek professional help. Your general practitioner may be able to refer you to a psychiatrist who can walk you through more personalized techniques for stress management and anxiety reduction.

Previous post:

Next post: