14 Signs that tells us Stress and Anxiety are Taking Over Our Life
When we’re not comfortable in a certain situation we’ll feel some stress and anxiety. Good stress is when we give up a bit of control and reach beyond our comfort zone, yet still have the assurance that we can handle this.
Although, when we give up too much control we feel that our freedom is at risk and we begin to worry. When we ruminate about what could be, in a negative way, this stress begins to take over and shows up in our life in different ways.
How do we fall into this trap of allowing stress to take over our life?
We continue to think that this is manageable, and ignore, or don’t acknowledge the signs that warn us this is too much. We start to go off track.
If stress and anxiety are starting to take over our life, it’ll show up in our life in some way and signals that this is too much for us to take on. But each of us responds differently to stress than others will.
To help us be aware of the signs that we’re taking on too much stress, I’ll provide the different ways that we respond to stress and how this can show up. If you recognize any of these signs, this would be a good opportunity to participate in a couple of solution-focused coaching sessions to get you back on track.
Here are 14 symptoms that tells us stress maybe taking over our life (click on the links for more info):
- Weight Fluctuations. For some people this will be gaining weight and others losing weight. If we experience a significant change in our weight, we maybe subconsciously focusing more on trying to solve an issue than taking care of ourselves. Our usual routine isn’t followed and we become sedentary, or overworked.
- Frustration or Outbursts of Anger. Outbursts of anger may arise if something isn’t going as planned. Instead of looking for other options, we hold onto the one outcome. We don’t see it any other way. When someone offers suggestions, we feel that they’re questioning our intelligence and we lash out at them. We don't want to be seen as though we lost control.
- An Outbreak of Acne. Whenever I’m stressed I breakout on my neck, but for others this can occur on other areas of their face and body. Stress will cause our system to be disrupted and our hormones unbalanced. This is one common way that our body tells us something isn’t working the way it should be.
- Pains in our Stomach. If we have pains in our stomach or abdomen and have visited the doctor with a negative outcome, this maybe because of too much stress or anxiety. When I was 10 years old, I had stabbing pains in my side to the point that I was hunched over and had difficulty breathing. All the tests the doctor performed came up negative and they said it was a virus and would go away. I had this same unexplainable pain while in my 20s. Both of these times were around significant and overwhelming change in my life.
- Dark Patches on your Face. These can appear anywhere on your face and are referred to as hyperpigmentation. I experienced this in the last two years of my marriage and is a result of imbalances in our system. Stress and anxiety cause a disruption in our hormones and this is one of the possible effects of it.
- Hair Loss. Many women go through hair loss after having a baby, and not only are we faced with an imbalance in hormones, we also experience a lot of stress that can result in hair loss. Men can also experience hair loss with a dramatic change in their life. Even if you’re not welcoming a baby into your life, high amounts of stress and anxiety can cause eyelashes and eyebrows to thin out.
- Loss of Motivation. If we have given up hope of reaching our goals, we may experience a loss of motivation or drive. This can be from too many negative responses from finding a job, or being unsuccessful in relationships. We may not feel stressed, but when we give up on ourselves we question our worth, and instead of fighting back to gain our sense of worth, we give up. The stress is more apparent when others in our life remind us of our short comings, and that eats away at us.
- Feeling Depressed. If we experience a loss in our life there is that feeling that part of us is missing. There is that emptiness and loneliness that has us feeling that life no longer has meaning. I went through this when my dad passed away. It was a good six months before I woke up. If we continue to see too many negative experiences, like loss or disappointment, we begin to see our whole life looking like this.
- Loss of Focus. When we're distracted, more than usual, we are more in our thoughts than in the moment. We're ruminating about what could be, what we should've done, and the worst that can happen, instead of being present on the task at hand. This distraction keeps us from focusing on what is important in that moment.
- Accidents. We get into accidents—rear ending another vehicle, jeopardize safety at work, breaking dishes, bumping into other people—when our mind is on events in our life that we're worried or stressed about. We aren’t paying attention to what the rest of our body is doing and how it’s interacting with our surroundings.
- Relationship Breakdowns. As we let stress take over our life, it also takes over our relationships. We stop listening and communicating to our partner because our mind is filled with frustration, chaos and discontentment. We are trying to solve a problem that we feel we should be able to solve, and this anxiety ends up and distances us from our life and the people in it.
- Lack Productivity. If we have too many tasks to take care of at one time, we try to multitask and when we multitask we end up being less productive at work. The idea that we have all of these unfinished tasks causes us to think that we can’t accomplish anything. This ends up creating more stress, worry and eventually panic to get things done.
- Increased Procrastination. Procrastination comes in many forms and is a sign that something is holding us back. By continuing to put something off, this ends up taking up more space in our mind and we feel increased pressure to complete the task. As we begin to exaggerate the outcome in a negative way this procrastination leads to stress and anxiety.
- Sleepless Nights. When we're struggling to fall asleep at the end of the day, we're fighting with unsettled thoughts. These thoughts are often of worry, fear of the future, unsolved issues, and lack of direction that still consumes our mind at day's end.
Solution-focused coaching doesn’t dig up reasons why these signs are occurring, or who is to blame. We explore ways to make your life healthier and reduce stress that keeps you from enjoying your life. Most clients experience change within the first session, getting them back on the right track to achieving the life they want to live.
We often put more emphasis on our physical wellbeing, but our mental wellbeing is the foundation of overall good health and happiness.
If stress is not reduced, this is how it can affect our life:
- Poor immune system - longer recovery rate, and more susceptible to decease
- Time off work for illness or other medical problems
- Losing our job because of lack of productivity and poor performance
- Ending relationships because of anger or distancing ourselves
- Decreased social contact because of poor appearance or lack of engagement
- Unable to make decisions in a timely manor or makes poor choices
- Unable to have a relationship because of disappointing experiences