SIGNS OF STRESS
What are common signs and symptoms of stress? How do I know if I’m under too much stress or not handling my stress effectively? Understanding yourself and how it impacts performance is key.
Stress can impact us in numerous ways. Our bodies may show physical signs of stress. We may notice changes in our emotions and moods. We also may start behaving in different ways when we’re not handling stress well. The following table lists common physical, emotional, and behavioral consequences of stress. Check off the ones that are familiar to you in time of stress.
Increased blood pressure
Increased alcohol use
Increased tobacco use
Decreased activity level
The Stress Response versus the Relaxation Response
When we experience stress or when we are relaxed, our bodies react in predictable ways. Descriptions of different aspects of the stress and relaxation responses are provided below. Each of these responses can be helpful at times, but sometimes we may experience stress to an unhealthy degree. Since we cannot be both stressed and relaxed at the same time, by learning to activate the relaxation response we can decrease the stress response and enjoy overall better health. We can experience great benefits from learning ways to “turn on” the relaxation response using specific techniques to help us better handle stress.
Body System The Stress Response The Relaxation Response
Heart Rate Increases Rate Decreases
Lungs Short and Shallow Deep and Slow
Blood Sugar Increases Decreases
Muscles Tense Relaxed
Stomach Minimal Function Normal Function
Adrenal Gland Increase Secretion Decreases Secretion
Immune System Minimal Function Normal Function