A lack of control is a key factor in stress.
Stress – although it has common features and symptoms – means different things to different people. However we vary markedly in our ability to cope with stress.
When we get a shock or feel threatened our bodies release hormones that cause physical changes. These mean that our body is ready to react because we face a real, imagined, or suspected threat.
We are ready for action such as to fight or run away just when we really need to feel calm and think clearly.
Whether the threat is a hungry sabre toothed tiger, an angry boss or a looming deadline, the physiological reaction is the same.
Modern life’s trials activate a physiological reaction that evolved to help us survive against nature’s teeth and claws.
The difficulty comes when we are under prolonged stress and the stress response never fully dies away. This can lead to an increased risk of ill health, whether psychological, emotional or even physical.
PSYCHOLOGICAL SYMPTOMS can include inability to concentrate or make simple decisions, memory lapses, becoming rather vague or easily distracted, excessive worrying or thinking negatively, increased reliance on habits and coping strategies such as alcohol and tobacco, reduction in self esteem and confidence.
EMOTIONAL SYMPTOMS can include depression, panic attacks, phobias intensifying, anger and irritability, tearfulness, mood swings, being sensitive to criticism, frustration and loneliness.
PHYSICAL SIGNS include aches and pains, muscle tension, frequent colds and infections, allergies or skin irritations, headaches, weight loss or gain, energy levels, sleep patterns, dizziness, sex drive, ulcers / IBS.