Wind Down Wednesday : Recognizing 5 Stress Signals

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Our body can signal us when we are stressed.  Are you able to recognize them?  Learn how to recognize the top 5 stress signals and what you can do to work towards relieving your stress. 

1) Insomnia– If you go to bed thinking or worrying, the physiological response is adrenaline, which is activating and interferes with getting sleep or achieving restful sleep.  

How to wind down. Create a routine for winding down and putting your mind to rest.  Before bed, swim, walk, mediate, drink warm milk or herbal tea (no caffeine), take a hot bath or choose to think of peaceful, pleasant thoughts. 

2) Headaches and sore muscle – When your body is in high gear, you are continuously on alert to respond and body tension accumulates.  If tension is chronic, the results can be muscle soreness and rigidity.  A tight neck, upper back and shoulders can lead to an headache.  

How to wind down. Stretching and light exercise every couple of hours throughout the day may help relieve the symptoms. 

3) Stomach problems – When you are stressed, acid is secreted in the stomach, which can cause heartburn, stomach cramps or other digestive problems.  Over the counter antacid may alleviate the symptoms, but don’t ignore the real culprit of irritation : stress, caffeine, smoking, alcohol, poor nutrition, inadequate sleep and relaxation or spicy food. 

How to wind down.  Use physical activity, deep breathing and self-soothing activities to calm your digestive track.  Be sure not to ignore these symptoms and consult with your PCM. 

4) Addictive Behaviors – Efforts to escape chronic stress by drinking too much, increase smoking, overeating, overspending, gambling or other negative patterns that lead to increased stress.

How to wind down. Find helpful and healthful ways to deal with stress.  Seek a local qualified professionals therapist in your area. 

5) Low Sex Drive – While this can be a signal of stress of fatigue, a variety of other issues need to be explore with your PCM such as high blood pressure, decreased testosterone, excessive salt consumption, excessive alcohol use, certain drugs and disease that may cause hieghten blood pressure in some people.  

While there is no way to prevent stress, we can control how we respond and handle it.  Try not to let stress build up, deal with stress when it strikes, think positively, visualize yourself solving your stressors, set limits and time frame to when you will manage your stressor and lastly, be honest about what you have control over and what you do.  Take this Wednesday to wind down and move towards recognizing your stressors, physical stressors and make moves to manage the stress.   

Winding Down, 

Shayla Peterson, LCSW
Source : Therapist’s guide to clinical intervention : 1-2-3’s of treatment planning (2nd edition) by Sharon L. Johnson

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