Everyone experiences stress to a different degree.

How does your day start?

Does the alarm clock stress you awake before you get even more stressed over breakfast and getting their children ready for school?

Then it is out into the big wide world to get your dose of stress from the traffic you have to deal with every morning. And then when you get to where your going, do you get even more stressed dealing with customers (or your boss) at work?

Then there are the major sources of stress in life, these include: going through a divorce (or getting married), moving to live in another place, changing your current job, recovering from a long-term illness and so on.

Whatever the source of the stress is, you can observe the first signs (or symptoms) of stress that typically appear as soon as your stress becomes chronic (i.e. becomes 'repeatable').

If you can learn to recognise your stress symptoms and then attempt to reduce your stress levels as soon as you can, you might not only feel more relaxed, but healthier overall too (because stress is linked to ill health as many researched cases have shown).

So, what are these symptoms of stress that you really need to know about?

These symptoms can be categorised as 'physiological', 'psycho-emotional' and 'behavioural' aspects.

Physiological category of stress symptoms:

1) Muscle tension. Sings of this are waking up with pains and aches in your legs particularly in your calves. Another symptom could be suffering with a numb or tingling feeling in your neck and shoulders, which might leave you feeling shaky and have tremors in your hands or feet. Where as tension in your facial muscles can cause jaw pain and throbbing temples.

2) Headaches. Tension headaches have their own characteristics and will often involve a feeling of tightness around your head, it can feel almost as if your skull has shrunk. Although these feelings of tightness might often feel equal around all of your head, one side of your head could be under more intense pressure (i.e. tightness) than the other. You might also feel enhanced sensitivity towards light and noise, and an aversion towards food often with the feelings of sickness.

3) Problems with sexual desire, activity or performance. Whether this means suffering with premature ejaculation or being unable to maintain an erection if you are a man, for women feeling dissatisfied or unfulfilled by it as they reach only a partial orgasm or develop a complete absence of sexual desire.

4) Fluctuation in blood pressure throughout the day.

5) Disturbed sleep pattern. These might be if you where not being able to fall asleep quickly, perhaps sleeping so lightly that you wake up many times during the night, or waking up unusually early. Dreams might have a more negative emotional content or simply become or turn into nightmares.

6) Excessive sweating, particularly from your armpits or feet.

7) Digestive problems. For example, frequent feelings of heaviness in your stomach throughout the day, especially after eating a meal, other symptoms may include constipation, and in more rare cases - frequent flatulence and diarrhea.

8) Feelings of discomfort in other parts of your body, for example, perhaps a sensation of tightness around your chest or neck, or another could be feelings of inadequate intake of air with each breath, and so on.

Psycho-emotional category of stress symptoms:

1) Instability in your mood levels. Fast changes of mood from hyperactive to low and tired-like, which is also characterised by irritability, anger, annoyance or apathy and crying.

2) Feelings of sadness, and even depression.

3) Feelings of constant uneasiness to the point of 'worrying over nothing' which can also create the possibility of panic attacks.

4) Feelings of loneliness and low self-esteem.

5) Constant tiredness, which can come on very rapidly.

6) Inability to concentrate on anything for too long.

7) Worsening of your memory (forgetfulness).

8) Impaired ability to remember or learn new things.

9) Predominance of negative feelings (over positive ones) in your mind.

10) Difficulty with making decisions.

11) Constant return of emotionally negative thoughts or of difficult times and often repetition of 'the same old' thoughts.

Behavioural category of stress symptoms:

1) Appearance of unusual characteristics in your behaviour, particularly related to constant annoyance, irritability, desire to conflict with other family members.

2) Making your work of less- or worse quality than usual.

3) Increase of 'bad habits'. For example, you might smoke or drink alcohol more than usual. For some people this might also mean taking more of prescription or illegal drugs.

4) Frequent fidgeting, with which you might feel that you have a constant lack of time.

5) Change in the way you work. For example, you might feel like a workaholic and begin working much more than usual, or the opposite might occur where you feel lazy and have a lack of desire to do anything with your usual work.

6) High intake of either relaxing drugs (e.g. medication such as antidepressants and tranquilizers) or stimulating foods and drinks (e.g. energy drinks, drinks high in caffeine, etc).

If you have identified any of the symptoms above in your current behaviour or in the way you feel, you might want to look at your current situation.

What stress factors you might have at work or at home?

Some of them you might be able to spot easily (e.g. annoyance with daily traffic), whereas others might be more difficult to identify (e.g. dissatisfaction with your work, difficulty with giving up your 'bad habits').

The sooner you find the sources of your stress, the sooner you might be able to start making the necessary changes needed for reducing your stress levels. I hope this article has made you more aware of your own signs of stress and inspires you to change your life for the better (and happier!)

Reference: "Medicine for Stress", Lisa, 2013 (in Russian).

Author's Bio: 

Elmira Strange, Research Psychologist, an author of articles on Stress-Management and "Your Guide to Happy and Stress-Free Living" book.

Still wondering how to reduce your daily stress? Read this article: http://www.stress-explained.com/what-todo-when-stressed.html

Having trouble with your sleep? Then have a look at these professional recommendations: http://www.stress-explained.com/goodnight-sleep.html