The American Psychological Association released their annual Stress in America survey today. Results suggest that we Americans are way too stressed out and that stress is having serious negative consequences. Chronic, long term stress can affect every system of our bodies: digestive, cardiac, musculoskeletal, and of course brain health can be seriously jeopardized when we are subjected to stress over the long term. To read more about APA’s Stress in America survey, including how your city rates in terms of stress, click here.
We all know stress is bad, but how do you know if your stress level is too high? What are the signs and symptoms of stress? Well, we all experience it differently, and some of the signs of excessive stress may surprise you. Here are a few to watch out for:
Difficulty concentrating (i.e., trouble focusing on your favorite TV show or book due to worries and stressful thoughts)
Excessive worry (i.e., going overboard in the amount of time you spend worrying about things, assuming the worst about things)
Overeating/undereating (i.e., eating when you’re not hungry, or losing interest in food)
Trouble with sleep (i.e., sleeping too much OR too little)
Trouble managing anger (i.e., losing your cool more quickly than normal)
Irritability (i.e., snapping at your kids or partner more than usual)
Inability to enjoy things you used to (i.e., too stressed out to enjoy weekly manicure)
Isolation (i.e., stop returning friends’ phone calls because you’re “too stressed” or “too busy” to talk)
Other signs of stress can include: difficulty doing just one thing at a time, trouble staying “in the moment,” and an increase of physical ailments (headaches, stomachaches, etc).