Live for life, avoid the stress mess. Great idea, but easier said than done, and the main reason is that people are mostly unaware of what stress symptoms to look for. We are constantly under stress, and as such have become totally habituated to stress that we are no longer even aware of the stress symptoms.

Being aware of the stress symptoms could well save your life. These are messages that the body is sending through, warning us to slow down and smell the roses. These stress symptoms can be broken down into behavioural, physical and emotional symptoms. Let’s take a look today at some of the behavioural signs and symptoms.

1. Increased or loss of appetite.
Some people tend to lose their appetite as opposed to others that can’t get enough food. And of course the food they reach for is sugar rich, chocolatey and other generally unhealthy types of foods.

2. Chronic tiredness.
You go to bed at 7:30 PM and sleep right through until 7.00 the following morning, but wake up feeling trashed. All day you drag yourself around feeling sleep deprived and exhausted. You feel that you will never get enough sleep again.

3. Accident prone.
You tend to bump into things more often, knock things over and generally feel that you have got five thumbs on each hand. Your hands shake more than usual and you have become a lot more clumsy. This is a classical stress symptom to watch for.

4. Increased smoking.
People who used to smoke 5 or 10 cigarettes a day, are now smoking 2 packs a day, and still craving more. Bad one! The health risks of increased smoking are huge.

5. Increased alcohol.
After work, you used to have an occasional beer with the boys. Now you’re knocking back a six-pack of beer or a half bottle of Klippies before staggering home. This is also of course creating additional stress both at home and at work.

6. Increased use of drugs.
Tranquilisers, sleeping pills, antidepressants and painkillers. As people start to feel the effects of stress, they tend to reach for drugs to relieve the symptoms. The problem with this is that while the drugs may alleviate the symptoms they do nothing about the cause of the stress.

7. Stammering.
“I just can’t get the words out properly!” And the problem is that the more you stammer the more it causes you to lose focus which causes the stammering to become even worse. Stressful isn’t it?

8. Forgetfulness.
Are you finding more and more often that you can’t remember where you put your keys or your wallet? Do you find yourself walking into a room, stopping and asking yourself what did you come here for? Forgetfulness is one of the more frustrating stress symptoms that affect us.

9. Impulsive behaviour.
We have all heard of retail therapy. When people become stressed they tend to go shopping. Which is great of course until the credit card slips come in, and that’s when the mega stress starts.

10. Tearfulness.
When under stress people tend to become more weepy. They found themselves crying for no real reason. So if you find that you leave your desk and go and make a photocopy and come back and find that your coffee has gone cold and burst into tears, this may well be a problem.

Please take a look back at this list and ask yourself how many of these stress symptoms or affecting you right now. Sure most of us feel some of them at some time. But if you’re experiencing more than five of these right now, you are probably under more stress than you are managing properly.
That’s the bad news. Now let’s have a look at the good news. Stress management is a simple life skill that helps us both at home and at work and the methods for controlling stress are not difficult to learn. We owe it to ourselves to make sure that we do not become victims of the stress mess.

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