Hopefully the title got your attention?

Do you know when you are stressed? Do you identify with any of the below?

Cognitive symptoms   Physical symptoms
  • Memory problems
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Poor judgement
  • Seeing only the negative
  • Anxious or racing thoughts
  • Constant worrying


  • Aches and pains
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Nausea, dizziness
  • Chest pain, rapid heart rate
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Frequent colds or flu
Emotional symptoms   Behavioural symptoms
  • Depression or general unhappiness
  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Moodiness, irritability, or anger
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Other mental or emotional health problems
  • Eating more or less
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
  • Using alcohol, cigarettes or drugs to relax
  • Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)

I know that there have been many times in my life when I have had one or more of the above symptoms. However, at the time, I never thought that I was stressed. It wasn’t until the thing that was causing the stress had gone away or been dealt with that I could look back and think ‘Boy, was I stressed then!’.

I mentioned in an earlier blog about my first marriage breaking up. Surprise, surprise, I was stressed, but I couldn’t see it. Funnily enough a girlfriend gave me a little book called ‘The little book of calm’. I wondered why she gave me the book. I thought I was acting normally and well in control. It’s not till reflecting on my behaviour over that time that I realise now I was showing quite a number of the above symptoms.

The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale list the top ten stressful life events that contribute to illness. They are

  1. Death of a spouse
  2. Divorce
  3. Marriage separation
  4. Imprisonment
  5. Death of a close family member
  6. Injury or illness
  7. Marriage
  8. Job loss
  9. Marriage reconciliation
  10. Retirement

However, what stresses you can be something completely different, and just because it is not on the top ten list, doesn’t mean you are not stressed.

So, how do I deal with stress, you might ask? Well, exercise is great, in two ways. One, you have time in your day when you don’t have to worry or stress about what is going on – you just workout. Two, it helps raise endorphins (if you don’t know what they are, they are similar to the effect of morphine on your body. In other words, you feel really positive about life and this also enhances good feelings).

As mentioned in earlier blogs, other ways that I deal with stress are gratitude, positive thinking and remembering that this time is just some ‘road works’ and it is up to me to make the choice to work my way through it.

One of my pet hates is people who moan and groan about what is going on in their lives and then don’t do anything about it. We all have choices and you have to live with the choices you have made.

There are numerous articles on stress on the internet, and this blog is not the be all and end all to how to identify or deal with stress. Stress is a very personal experience and if you are feeling stressed or showing any of the above symptoms, make sure you talk to someone who can help you understand and work your way through whatever it is that is stressing you. And/or make the choice to deal with what is making you stressed.

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