We experience a lot of stress! Whether it’s acute stress or chronic stress – you know exactly what someone is talking about when they say they’re stressed out. Stress affects your mood, body, thoughts, and even your behavior. Below are some signs of stress, but keep in mind that, like most mental health things, individual differences may mean that stress looks different for you!
Mood – irritability, restlessness, anxiety, or feeling down
Body – headaches, tense muscles, upset stomach, problems with sleep
Thoughts – negative thoughts about yourself or others, negative thoughts about your ability to get everything done, thoughts about how much you dread what you have to do
Behavior – overeating, increase in alcohol or drug use, angry outbursts, social withdrawal
Some stress, like acute stress, is unavoidable – and stress can be good for us, too. It can get us excited, it can motivate us, and when we learn to manage stress, we are able to handle even more stress over time. We adapt and we learn to cope. But with long-term or chronic stress, this can be detrimental to your mood, body, thoughts, and behavior. Keep an eye on your stress level and try to stay on top of your stress. Be aware of the things you do when you’re stressed – maybe you reach for extra dessert or you’re lying in bed more than usual. If you find yourself having a hard time managing your stress, reach out to someone and let them know you’re having a hard time. Next week we’ll talk about ways to manage stress.