One of the difficulties with stress is that people experience stress in different ways. This contributes to stress manifesting itself differently. So it would be wrong to over generalise when giving advice on how to identify stress in others. However, what we can say is that because stress has negative effects, it will usually manifest itself one way or another.
Stress targets the weakest part of our physiology or character; if you are prone to headaches or eczema, this will flare up. If you have low levels of patience or tolerance for others, this will be the first area to present under times of stress.
Stress isn’t avoidable but it is manageable. A key action in order to minimise risk is to identify stress-related problems as early as possible, so that action can be taken before serious stress-related illness occurs.
There will be changes in the stressed person.
These changes may be emotional, physical or behavioural, or a combination of all three. So, the key thing is to look out for negative changes of any kind. Bear in mind that the negative changes are also likely to have knock-on effects e.g. reduced performance at work.
Of course, we all experience ‘bad days’, so we are really talking about situations where people display these negative changes for a period of time (e.g. 5 days in a row).
Prolonged stress undoubtedly makes people ill. It is now known to contribute to heart disease, hypertension and high blood pressure, it affects the immune system, is linked to strokes, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), ulcers, diabetes, muscle and joint pain, miscarriage, allergies, alopecia and even premature tooth loss.
- Memory Problems
- Poor Judgement
- Inability to Concentrate
- ‘Brain Fog’
- Starting many tasks but achieving little
- Self doubt
- Fatalistic Thinking
- Feeling Overwhelmed
- Chest Pain
- Rapid Heartbeat
- Aches and Pains
- Frequent Colds
- Skin Complaints
- High Blood Pressure
- Increase Intake in Alcohol, Cigarettes and Caffeine to Relax
- Isolating Yourself from Others
- Sleeping too Little or too Much
- Loss of sense of humour
- Increase in alcohol intake