According to an article in Medical News Today and HelpGuide.org, the definition of stress is a mental state of mind when we feel overloaded and overwhelmed by the pressures put upon us. It is defined as anything that will make us lose our sense of well-being, affecting our mental and physical health. Some stress may be positive as it poses a healthy challenge to get us going, but when stress stops being good and positive, it starts causing major damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships, and your quality of life.
Responses to stress, level of tolerance and threshold may differ across individuals. It is dependent on many factors for instance your general outlook and perspective of life, the quality of the relationship with people around you, emotional intelligence and even genetics. We all have different ways to response to stress. Some may collapse and throw in the towel at the slightest distress, some thrives and scores more when put through a highly stressful situation.
But what are the adverse effects that may arise from negative stress in our lives, or when do we know that is too much to take? It is good to recognise these symptoms and to keep our stress levels in check. Accordingly to Helpguide.org, stress may negatively affect us with symptoms categorised in four main ways: Cognitive, Emotional, Behavioral and Physical. If you were to suffer from a few too many of these symptoms across the categories, it is time to treat your stress more seriously. Bear in mind that these symptoms can be caused by other psychological or medical problems, if you suffer from them, it is best to see a doctor to get a full diagnosis. Here are some of the symptoms:
- Cognitive: Memory problems, loss of concentration, being negative, constantly having anxious thoughts
- Emotional: Moodiness, short temper, easily irritated and agitated, sense of loneliness, feeling depressed
- Behavioral: Insomnia, loss of appetite, isolating yourself, nervous habits (pacing/nail biting), addictions
- Physical: Aches and pains, nausea and dizziness, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, loss of sex drive.
If the amount of stress that you allow your body and mind to be put through without check, it may give rise to more serious unhealthy behaviours. According to Stress Management in About.com, some of the unhealthy ways that we may response to or help us to relieve stress, this includes excessive consumption of caffeinated drinks and smoking, over dependency on drugs and compulsive behaviours. Some even gets addicted to particular activities which makes us feel better, or to just fill the void in that spur of the moment, for example eating, sex, pornography, etc. All these stress responses and behaviours are risks that may develop into more serious problems in the future.