How to Read Your Body’s Stress Signals

How to Read Your Body’s Stress Signals

At work or at home, it’s important to listen to your body and know if you’re overstressed.

We all have those times when we feel absolutely exhausted. But as parents, it’s easy to misjudge our thresholds of stress. We often keep working, keep sacrificing and keep staying up late to get more of our to-do’s done without giving our bodies a break.

And although we may not think our work obligations take a toll on, we need to step back and take stock every once in a while to stay at our optimal levels, mentally and physically. When we take care of ourselves, we can take care of others better.

Keeping a Check on Stress
Our bodies normally operate with varying levels of stress every day. Our natural ability to cope with stress depends on a range of the body’s chemicals that help us deal with problems as we encounter them.

The body can’t always utilize these natural chemicals in a balanced and efficient way, however. Problems beyond our control that can’t be resolved immediately — work or money, for instance — are more than just the fight-or-flight reaction we’re biologically wired to handle.

Physical Signs of Stress
While you may think stress just tires you out, it can actually impair the immune system so you become more prone to illness.

Other common signs include inability to sleep well, getting more emotional than usual at certain times during the day or suffering regular headaches.

Stress doesn’t have to result in extreme long-term physical problems, but it is worth taking some time out to find out how your body best recovers from stress.

De-stress Action Plan
A different type of stress calls for a different set of remedies. There are tons of methods to de-stress, but here’s a five-step plan on combating it when you begin to feel overwhelmed.


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1. Assess Your Situation
Get into the habit of being able to identify the source of your stress. Think through the whole situation and put aside the little problems to get to the heart of what is really wrong.

2. Making a Plan
If the source of stress is something you can change, try to remedy the situation as soon as you can. When the issue isn’t that simple — home or work relationships, for instance — sharing your feelings with the right person helps. Objective feedback might give you the chance to at least address part of the root of the problem, and you’ll be able to vent.

3. Getaway Routes
Simple quick escapes like taking a walk around the block, a long soothing bath or just digging out an old album and listening to your favourite songs can really help.

We’re all different, so it’s important to find reliable shortcuts to feeling good that usually work for you.

4. Healthy Rescue
Although chocolate or some ice cream can help us feel better, too much of these kinds of treats can bring about their own problems. Instead, try taking up a new activity. Whether it’s swimming or a slow, low-impact practice like yoga, tai chi or Pilates, a new hobby you can channel your energies into can help divert your attention.

Physical activities can have genuine feel-good value mentally and physically, but hobbies can teach you new skills, which is a great morale booster.

5. Focus on the Positive
Not all of us are good at serious meditation, but chilling out and focusing on something good is a popular method of de-stressing. If you are visualizing something that makes you happy — a beach, the holidays, etc. — think about the restful sounds and scents that go with your scene, too.

Do you have any signs that you’re too stressed we missed? Let us know in the comments section below!

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About 7 years ago I started waking with severe anxiety, most likely from stress related reasons. So I started a yoga routine geared towards relaxation, which included many breathing techniques (prana). A few months after that I upscaled my routine to a more physical workout, but not too strenuous, Hatha. I will tell you honestly, Yoga saved my life. I have never felt better! Try it...what have you got to lose? =)

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i completely agree with the article. I have felt all these signs and i am having a hard time dealing with stress. very hard....

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