We live in uncertain times. In one sense, this has always been the case. We live in an imperfect world, and there always seems to be something we can worry about. It’s quite normal to fear heights or to be nervous before a job interview. It’s all part of being human.
What we do need to concern ourselves about are the signs of extreme stress, and all the more when they persist longer term. Let’s find out why.
It’s A Global Pandemic
Statistics reveal that 40 million Americans have some type of anxiety disorder. According to the experts, anxiety disorder affects 14% of Australians in some form or another. When it comes to Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) there doesn’t even need to be a reason for the worry state.
The Covid pandemic has made nearly half of the United Kingdom anxious, according to research. This is even more pronounced for people with pre-existing psychological issues. When the entire planet is being assaulted by a virus it is paramount that people watch over their mental health.
There Could Be A Medical Cause
People feel stressed for a multitude of different reasons. If they are not feeling ‘normal’ or ‘right’ within themselves, they may be unable to cope with their lives. It’s therefore important that people seek medical help in the first instance.
It may be that the issues are all psychologically based. On the other hand there could be shortness of breath due to asthma issues. The person could have an undiagnosed thyroid problem. They may feel weak and faint due to hypoglycemia.
Most prescription medication has some kind of side effect or another. Just as some sleeping tablets can actually cause insomnia, other meds may be responsible for the feelings of stress.
Your Health Must Be Preserved
A worry state will usually put someone into a ‘fight or flight’ mode. This is a primitive human response whereby we breathe faster and take in more oxygen. More adrenaline is produced, to empower us for any immediate danger.
If someone stays in this raised state for a prolonged time (e.g. after a traumatic event) it can reduce the effectiveness of their immune system. This would mean they would become vulnerable to illnesses, including type 2 diabetes.
Stress can manifest itself in different ways in our bodies. We can experience anything from constipation to diarrhea, heartburn to flatulence. We may have chest, neck or back pains arising from muscle tension. Our mouths may feel dry or our face becomes covered in acne. The list goes on, but no one wants to experience such symptoms.
Home And Work Can Be Impacted
Peoples’ relationships often suffer when someone is feeling stressed. This is because the person may have developed a short fuse, and freak out if there is unexpected change. They may alternatively turn inwards like a tortoise inside its shell, and reduce communication.
Employers will not be happy with an employee who is constantly blowing a gasket or late to work. If they keep themselves to themselves they will be deemed to be an unsociable member of the team. Their work output may reduce, and the employee may appear distant. If major changes are brought into the business the person may feel unable to make the transition.
It May Lead To Wrong Paths
If someone feels overwhelmed by life, they may manifest signs of OCD. They may feel things are more under control if their home is spotlessly clean and tidy. A person may alternatively become hooked on gambling or shopping. They may start binge-eating to make themselves feel loved.
Some people try to self-medicate rather than see a doctor. They may use alcohol as a sleeping aid or use illegal drugs. They may increase their smoking levels if that makes them feel more relaxed too.
Your Mental Health Could Worsen
If people sink into depression over time it can be hard to get out of it. Suicidal thoughts may begin to appear. If someone is anxious during the day time it is highly likely to affect their sleep. This can create a vicious circle where someone doesn’t cope because they can’t sleep. Then they worry about getting to sleep, and stay awake as a result.
People need to be aware of their own stress levels. If friends, family or colleagues say they are high, take heed. Once the root cause has been established, discuss it with others.
Seek medical or psychological help if required. It may be that CBT (Cognitive Based Therapy), mindfulness or counselling may help. There may also be a support group to join. Before you know it, you will be on the road to recovery. Tools and strategies can be put in place for the future.