Stress - The Silent Killer

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Stress - The Silent Killer

Stress is a normal human response with which most of us are familiar. Low or intermittent amounts of stress can be positive, as it enables us to achieve more and increases motivation.

Higher levels of stress, however, can mean that we feel overwhelmed. Often we feel stressed when things are unpredictable or when we feel insecure, such as when a relationship is not going well.

Chronic situations that demand a lot from us, such as caring for a child with a disability or looking after ageing parents can be very stressful. Sometimes stress results from having too many responsibilities and tasks, particularly if there are deadlines to be met.

Chronic health or financial worries are also stressful. Stress seems to be our bodies’ way of letting us know that we are overloaded and prompting us to do something to relieve the situation.

Signs of Stress

Being stressed affects us in a number of ways.

Common physical symptoms of stress include:

  • Headaches
  • muscle tension
  • stomach upsets
  • nausea
  • heart palpitations
  • fatigue and sweating

      Emotional signs may include:

  • tearfulness
  • irritability
  • loss of confidence
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • loss of enthusiasm

      Effects on thinking may include:

  • difficulty making decisions
  • poor judgement
  • negativity
  • reduced concentration
  • impaired short term memory.

The symptoms of stress can also impact on other areas of your life. Stress can affect appetite, sleep, time management or relationships.

In trying to cope with stress, many people increase their use of things like caffeine, nicotine, alcohol or other drugs.