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Identifying the signs of stress on Stress Awareness Day

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Stress Awareness Day began in April 1992 at the urging of Health Resource Network as a way of raising our awareness about stress and the negative impact it can have on our lives. Everyone experiences stress at some point in their lives, and it is not necessarily a bad thing. Unfortunately, we are experiencing an epidemic of stress in our nation that is having an impact on our physical and mental health. Chronic stress can raise blood pressure, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, slow our body's ability to heal, make us more vulnerable to depression and anxiety, become a contributing factor to infertility and speed the aging process.

In honor of Stress Awareness Day, you owe it to yourself to slow down for a few moments and examine the following signs of stress. In you notice a trend emerging as you look over the list, please take inventory of your life and see if you can pinpoint the cause of your stress. Once you know what is causing the problem, you are more able to take control of it and remedy the situation.

PSYCHOLOGICAL SIGNS

  • Loss of intuition
  • Loss of creativity/creative urges
  • Not being able to concentrate/becoming easily distracted
  • Inability to make simple decision/indecisiveness
  • Becoming forgetful
  • Excessive worrying
  • Negative thinking
  • Become depressed and anxious

EMOTIONAL SIGNS

  • Becoming easily angered, frustrated or tearful
  • Experiencing mood swings/feeling out of control
  • Becoming extra sensitive or defensive to criticism
  • Having no motivation
  • Drop in self esteem/confidence

PHYSICAL SIGNS

  • Muscle tension/aches/pains
  • Grinding teeth or clenching jaw
  • Catching frequent colds
  • Skin irritation and rashes
  • Constipation/diarrhea
  • Heart palpitations/blood pressure increase
  • Panic attacks or hyperventilating
  • Persistent nausea/heartburn/ulcers
  • Dizziness
  • Always feeling tired
  • Menstrual changes
  • Loss of sex drive

BEHAVIORAL SIGNS

  • Inability to relax/no interest in hobbies
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine or recreational drugs
  • Becoming a workaholic or excessively tardy/absent
  • Withdrawing from family and friends/relationship problems
  • Neglecting appearance/work performance
  • Insomnia
  • Reckless behavior/angry outbursts
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