Stress - Stressor - Signs & Symptoms

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Gopabandhu Academy of Administration Orissa, Bhubaneswar bijayabnanda@yahoo.com Stress, Stressors- Signs and Symptoms

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Stress: What is it? In Physics it Means forces that produces strain on physical body. (Intensity is measured in Unit of force per unit of area) Another meaning: It implies Special emphasis attached to something. To single out certain things In this context: Emotional disturbance/tension arising out of a Situations, circumstances that causes Manifestation of Anger, Fear, Anxiety, Apprehension, nervousness etc.

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When do we call the Situation Stressful? If we decide that the demands of the situation outweigh the skills we have, then we label the situation as “stressful” and react with the classic “stress response.” If we decide that our coping skills outweigh the demands of the situation, then we don’t see it as “stressful.”

From Where do we get Stress? :

From Where do we get Stress? Th e Environment The environment can bombard you with intense and competing demands to adjust. Examples of environmental stressors include weather, noise, crowding, pollution, traffic, unsafe and substandard housing, crime etc. Society We can experience multiple stressors arising from the demands of the different social roles we occupy, such as parent, spouse, caregiver, and employee. Some social stressors include deadlines, financial problems, job interviews, presentations, disagreements, demands for your time and attention, loss of a loved one, divorce, parenting.

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Physiological Situations and circumstances affecting our body can be experienced as physiological stressors. Examples of physiological stressors include adolescence , menopause, illness, aging, giving birth, accidents, lack of exercise, poor nutrition, and sleep disturbances. Thoughts Your brain interprets and perceives situations as stressful, difficult, painful, or pleasant. Some situations in life are stress provoking, but it is our thoughts that determine whether they are a problem for us.

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Thoughts that causes stress: Overestimation of danger Underestimation of your ability to cope Underestimation of help available Worries and catastrophic thoughts Anxious Thoughts Anxious thoughts are future oriented and often predict catastrophe. Anxious thoughts often begin with, “What if…” and end with a disastrous outcome.

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Types of Stressors Situations that creates stress are considered as stressors. Characteristics of Positive stress M otivates, focuses energy Is short-term Is perceived as within our coping abilities Feels exciting Improves performance Characteristics of negative stress Causes anxiety or concern Can be short or long-term Is perceived as outside of our coping abilities Feels unpleasant Decreases performance Can lead to mental and physical problems

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Categorising Stressors Different people have different cooping mechanism to stressors, therefore, it is somewhat hard to categorize stressors into objective lists positive and negative stress. However, a list of stressors that are typically experienced as negative or positive to most people, most of the time is compiled. Examples of negative personal stressors: The death of a partner The death of a family member Hospitalization (oneself or a family member) Injury or illness (oneself or a family member) Being abused or neglected Conflict in interpersonal relationships Bankruptcy/money problems, Unemployment

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Conflicts with team mates and supervisors Lack of training necessary to do a job Making presentations in front of colleagues or clients Unproductive and time-consuming meetings Commuting and travel schedules Examples of positive personal stressors: Receiving a promotion at work Starting a new job Marriage or commitment ceremony Buying a home Having a child Taking or planning a vacation

Internal Sources of Stress:

Internal Sources of Stress Internal events such as feelings, thoughts, and habitual behaviors can also cause negative stress. Common internal sources of distress: Fears (e.g., fears of flying , heights, public speaking, chatting with strangers at a party) Repetitive negative thought patterns Worrying about future events (e.g., waiting for medical test results or job restructuring) Unrealistic or perfectionist expectations Habitual behavior patterns that can lead to stress include: Over scheduling Failing to be assertive Procrastination and/or failing to plan ahead

Signs and Symptoms of Stress Overload:

Signs and Symptoms of Stress Overload It is important to learn how to recognize when your stress levels are “out of control” or having an adverse effect. The signs and symptoms of stress overload can be almost anything. Stress affects the mind, body, and behavior in many ways, and everyone experiences stress differently. Three common ways that people respond when they are overwhelmed by stress are: An angry or agitated stress response. You may feel heated, keyed-up, overly emotional, and unable to sit still. A withdrawn or depressed stress response. You shut down, space out, and show very little energy or emotion. Both a tens and frozen stress response. You “freeze” under pressure and feel like you can’t do anything. You look paralyzed, but under the surface you may feel extremely agitated.

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The following lists some of the common warning signs and symptoms of stress. The more signs and symptoms you notice in yourself, the closer you might be to feeling stress overload. Cognitive Symptoms: Memory problems Inability or difficulty concentrating Poor judgment Seeing only the negative Anxious, racing, or ruminating thoughts Constant worrying

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Emotional Symptoms: Moodiness Irritability or short-tempered Agitation, inability to relax Feeling overwhelmed Sense of loneliness or isolation Depression or general unhappiness Physical Symptoms: Aches and pains, muscle tension Diarrhea or constipation Nausea, dizziness, or butterflies in the stomach Chest pain or rapid heartbeat Loss of sex drive Frequent colds Shallow breathing and sweating

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Behavioral Symptoms: Eating more or less Sleeping too much or too little Isolating yourself from others Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax Nervous habits (nail biting, pacing) Keep in mind that the signs and symptoms of stress also can be caused by other psychological and medical problems. If you’re experiencing any of the warning signs of stress, it’s important to see a doctor for an evaluation. Your doctor can help you determine whether or not your symptoms are stress related.

50 Common Signs and Symptoms of Stress:

50 Common Signs and Symptoms of Stress Frequent headaches, jaw clenching or pain 2. Gritting, grinding teeth 3. Stuttering or stammering 4.Tremors,trembling of lips, hands 5. Neck ache, back pain, muscle spasms 6. Light headedness, faintness, dizziness 7. Ringing in the ears 8.Frequentblushing,sweating 9. Dry mouth, problems swallowing 10.Cold or sweaty hands, feet

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11. Frequent colds, infections 12. Rashes, itching, “goose bumps” 13. Unexplained or frequent allergy attacks 14. Heartburn, stomach pain, nausea 15. Excess belching, flatulence 16. Constipation, diarrhea 17. Difficulty breathing, sighing 18. Sudden attacks of panic 19. Chest pain, palpitations 20. Frequent urination 21. Low sexual drive or performance 22. Excess anxiety, worry, guilt, nervousness 23. Increased anger, frustration, hostility 24. Depression, frequent or intense mood swings

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25. Increased or decreased appetite 26. Insomnia, nightmares, disturbing dreams 27. Difficulty concentrating, racing thoughts 28. Trouble learning new information 29. Forgetfulness, disorganization, confusion 30. Difficulty in making decisions 31. Feeling overwhelmed 32. Frequent crying spells or suicidal thoughts 33. Feelings of loneliness or worthlessness 34. Little interest in appearance, punctuality 35. Nervous habits, feet tapping, fidgeting 36. Increased frustration, irritability

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37. Overreaction to petty annoyances 38. Increased number of minor accidents 39. Obsessive/compulsive behaviors 40. Reduced work productivity 41. Lies or excuses to cover up poor work 42. Rapid or mumbled speech 43. Excessive defensiveness or suspiciousness 44. Problems with communication 45. Social withdrawal or isolation 46. Constant tiredness, weakness, fatigue 47. Frequent use of over-the-counter drugs 48. Weight gain or loss without diet 49. Increased smoking, alcohol, or drug use 50. Excessive gambling or impulse buying

The Effects of Stress:

The Effects of Stress Physical or mental stresses may cause physical illness as well as mental or emotional problems. Here are the parts of the body affected by stress:

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Brain: Stress triggers mental and emotional problems such as insomnia, headaches, personality changes, irritability, anxiety, and depression Mouth: Mouth ulcers and excessive dryness are often symptoms of stress. Heart: Cardiovascular disease and hypertension are linked to accumulated stress. Lungs: High levels of mental or emotional stress adversely affect individuals with asthmatic conditions. Reproductive organs: Stress affects the reproductive system causing menstrual disorders and recurrent vaginal infections in women and impotence and premature ejaculation in men. Hair: High stress levels may cause excessive hair loss and some forms of baldness. Muscles: Spasmodic pains in the neck and shoulders, musculoskeletal aches, lower back pain, and various minor muscular twitches and nervous tics are more noticeable under stress. Digestive tract: Stress can cause or aggravate diseases of the digestive tract including gastritis, stomach and duodenal ulcers, ulcerative colitis, and irritable colon. Skin: Some individuals react to stress with outbreaks of skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis.

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Do you… (answer ‘O’ for often. ‘S’ for sometimes, or ‘R’ for rarely or never) __ regret being angry or short-tempered with others? __ feel like your emotions are getting the best of you? __ use alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to cope with stress (prescription, counter, or street drugs)? __ have sleep problems (either sleep too much or not getting enough restful sleep)? __ feel like things are overwhelming or out of control? __ laugh or smile less than you used to? __ yell, cry, or withdraw a lot?

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__ feel sad, disappointed, or worried? __ eat too much or too little when you are stressed? __ feel that you are not in control of your life? __ have trouble letting go of things that are bothering you? __ blame yourself or think that nothing goes right? If you have answered often or sometimes to four or more of these questions, it may be time to address your stress.

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“Life is Like a Flowing River – Let it Flow and go on Nourishing, whomsoever, whatsoever comes on the Way “ “Accept the situation, person, place as it comes and try to change it slowly for a sublime, greater purpose “

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