People think of stress as being burnt out, crying alot, feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope. While these are definitely signs of stress, they are often preceded by some earlier warning signs that people do not necessarily attribute to stress.
Ponder the statements below, ask yourself, are these showing up in my life? How am I feeling mentally, emotionally and physically? Do I feel vibrant and full of energy or do I feel like I have to struggle to get through my day.
Warning signs of stress include:
1. Inability to get a good nights sleep -Many of my clients report that they cannot sleep well because they are thinking and rethinking about their day as they are trying to get to sleep. Sometimes they wake up in the middle of the night and find it difficult to get back to sleep as they cannot seem to shut off their mind.
2. Aches and Pains - Research shows that even one stressful thought can lead to changes all the way down to the DNA of our cells. The aches and pains we experience are like the body is crying out for some relief from the stress that it is facing and it needs to get loud for us to start paying attention to it.
3. Low Energy - Not only does stress affect the DNA of our cells, it also affects the energy generation of our cells. It is a major energy leak . When you are stressed, you release stress hormones in your system that play havoc on your energy and your feeling of well being.
4. Scattered thinking - Have you ever walked into your office and thought "I need to do this today" and 2 minutes later you find yourself on the internet surfing something totally different. You find yourself starting one project, and then moving onto something else without completing the first. Not only is this behavior stressful as you do not get your work done, but it is often an unrecognized sign that stress is starting to accumulate.
5. Foggy Thinking - Have you ever found yourself trying to get a project done but you cannot seem to find the words to write the report or complete the task. You look at the work in front of you and do not know where to begin. Once again, with adrenaline and cortisol running through your system at unhealthy amounts we get what is called "corticol inhibition" which means we are not even accessing the brain's cerebral cortex which is responsible for decision making, problem solving and creativity.
6. Loss of your sense of humor - Remember when you could laugh at your mistakes, when you did not take everything in your life so seriously, and when you could smile spontaneously at a good memory. When we have stress starting to accumulate in our bodies, our perspective narrows and we start to take everything way too seriously.
7. Increased negativity - Can you see the good in others, in your children, in your partner and your colleagues? If you are finding yourself more critical and inclined to gossip or look for what is not working in a situation, this is another unrecognized sign of stress.
Many of these signs are often minimized or ignored. What usually happens when people notice they are acting this way is they get into the negative self talk of the shoulda, woulda, coulda that I spoke about it "How connected are you with you".
One of the best ways to de-stress "in the moment" is to STOP what you are doing.
My gift to you: