10 Ways to Tell if You're Stressed

Stress reveals itself in many ways, and if we are able to identify it we are better equipped to manage it. The consequences of not doing so can harm our health and relationships, which in turn only causes more stress!

Here are some ways to tell if you're stressed:

1) You're Finding it Hard to Sleep

People who are stressed usually find it difficult to sleep, especially when they can't get their minds to 'switch off'. Even if they do manage to sleep a little, they often dream of the thing they are worrying about and wake again. This then leads to overtiredness, which in turn makes it even harder to cope with stress.

2) You're Eating More, or Not Enough

When stressed, some people eat more (particularly 'comfort' foods such as chocolate, takeaway etc), while others feel sick at the thought of eating. The first only causes the person to feel sluggish and heavy; the second leads to dizziness and feeling weak, and either way the body stops performing at its best.

3) You're Doubting Yourself More 

Another symptom of stress is the loss of self-confidence. Stressed people often feel they can't make decisions or see the solution to a problem. They may feel unable to make good judgments and question whether they really are as capable as they thought and if what they are doing is making any difference.

4) You're Struggling to be Present in Your Relationships

Stressed people often 'check out'. This may mean withdrawing from their closest relationships in a self-imposed isolation, or simply finding it difficult to engage and pay attention in a conversation. When people are under pressure, they often feel they have to save what energy they have just to survive, and sometimes to do this they step back from others who may require something from them.

5) You Feel Like Your Relationships Are More Difficult

Stressed people can often be irritable - unable to cope with the small faults of others and or have compassion when others make mistakes, let them down etc. This can lead to full-blown conflict even when the original problem was just a small disagreement. As such, people who are stressed can often be difficult to be around, hard to please and easy to upset.

6) You Feel Run Down

Stress takes its toll on the body, and everyone experiences this in different ways. Some common examples are feeling sick in the stomach, having tense muscles, breathlessness and/or experiencing headaches. Many fall sick in a more serious way simply through subjecting their bodies to stress over a long period of time, causing them to feel 'run down'.

7) You Can't Remember the Last Time You Had Fun

People who are caught in a stressful situation often forget to take time out for themselves. This may mean not spending time with their friends/family or engaging in anything fun. We all need a break, but a stressed person may be so focused on the problem that joy is something they have learned to live without.

8) You Feel Unable to Cope With Simple Things

When someone's going through a stressful situation, simple tasks can be challenging. Even routine activities can start to feel overwhelming, and things we may have coped with for years are now taxing and stressful within themselves.

9) You Feel Overemotional or Numb

Feeling overemotional or void of emotions all together is another sign of stress. Some feel out of control of their emotions - they may have angry outbursts, frequently cry and/or take things out on others. Some start to feel dead or empty on the inside, with nothing left to give, and some swing between the two on an emotional rollercoaster.

10) You're Struggling to See the Positive Side in Anything

Stress often clouds a person’s thinking until they can only ever see the cup as half empty. Things seem futile and hopeless. This can lead to more serious depression, but often begins with a general negative attitude. 

If you can relate to one or more of the above, then you may be under more stress then you realise. Next week we’ll look at ways to deal with stress, but in the meantime consider what things you are stressing about. Are they things you can control? Or are you trying to control the uncontrollable?

Stress is something that comes to us all, but if it’s something we can identify, then it is also something we can eradicate.