You m ay think it would be obvious if chronic stress were ruining your life. But surprisingly, the symptoms can be subtle or vague. Many times, chronic stress manifests in ways you would not suspect. We’ll take a look at what some of the signs of chronic stress, so you can get a handle on your stress, and stop it before it ruins your life.
1. Feeling Agitated
Do you find it really hard to relax? Do you feel like you’re never “at peace”? When you’re stressed, all kinds of body chemicals kick in, creating a “fight or flight” response that can play out as a constant sense of agitation. You might be unable to sit still or feel “driven,” even when you are very tired.
Do you find yourself having inappropriately angry outbursts over small things? Do small things feel huge and upsetting? Then you might be under too much stress. That tense feeling can manifest as anger and a feeling of being tightly wound.
3. Shut Down and “Hide”
The opposite to #1, you might feel depressed and low on energy if you’re stressed. You may feel too tired to do anything, and just end up withdrawing. Many times, overly-stressed people will sort of detach and not engage anyone around them.
4. Unable to Focus
Stressed people may find themselves too distracted to focus on anything, and just space out. Tasks may go undone, and the stressed person finds that only last-minute panic can motivate them. This is because your body is exhausted from making stress hormones, and it takes a lot to kick it into “motivation mode.”
5. Memory Problems
If you have trouble remembering basic things, it may mean excessive stress. Everyone has a memory glitch now and then, but if you find that you regularly have trouble remembering simple things like items on a list, appointments, work projects, etc., then you might be stressed out.
6. Too High or Too Low an Appetite
Neither overeating or under eating are healthy, and stress can induce both problems. Stressed-out people may turn to food for comfort, energy (especially carb cravings), and relaxation, while others may find that they never have time to eat, or they just don’t want to. If you have a low appetite, you may feel too anxious or depressed to eat.
As you can see, many symptoms of chronic stress can be conflicting and broad. If you think you may be on the “stress road” and want to turn off, it wouldn’t hurt to see a qualified counselor or therapist.