We all know that stress can make us pay a hefty bill. However, not all of us are able to detect the hidden symptoms of stress. Usually when we realize they are there it is too late because we have been carrying on the stress for months or even years.
The modern lifestyle doesn't help us notice the hidden symptoms of stress. In an "always on" society that favors production and consumption, permanent stress can become the normal state for its members. We do not realize that our agenda fills up without leaving a free space for rest and we run from one place to another more and more in a hurry to be able to do everything, when in reality what we need is to slow down.
Immersed in this environment, our own speed confuses us. The signs to detect stress are not so obvious, they go unnoticed. We are too busy juggling life without paying due attention to the inner life. As this happens, the stress continues to build until it affects our mental balance and physical health. This is why it is important to learn to recognize the hidden symptoms of stress.
1. You have become more forgetful. Stress affects memory and attention. So if you've gotten more forgetful lately, it's likely due to an excess of daily stress and worries. If you are stressed, it will also cost you more to focus and you will make more mistakes.
2. Everything bothers you. If you've been more irritable lately, the slightest noise annoys you, or the smallest mistake of others makes you nervous, it's probably due to stress. Stress leaves you on edge, so you can become hypersensitive.
3. You are permanently tired. Stress consumes mental and physical resources. So one of the first symptoms is fatigue. Simpler activities are likely to start consuming more energy than usual or you may even wake up exhausted. Even the days of rest are useless, they leave you even more tired.
4. Your habits are less healthy. If you've been choosing less healthy foods lately or skipping your gym workout, it could be due to stress. Stress exhausts self-control, so you are more likely to choose the easy way out. In fact, you will likely find yourself acting against your own values simply because you have no willpower.
5. React more aggressively. Stress generates a state of hypervigilance. The brain acts as if it is in danger, so you are likely to react more aggressively and lose control more often.
6. More Procrastines. One of the hidden symptoms of stress is procrastination. You can put off things that take no more than five minutes or avoid making decisions. This results in disorganization and inefficiency, so obligations are likely to start piling up and end up creating more stress.
7. Almost nothing amuses you. Stress permeates everything. Glucocorticoids produced in this state interfere with serotonin levels in the brain and affect your ability to feel pleasure and stay motivated. Because of this, chances are you will begin to perceive activities that you used to enjoy as a nuisance or obligation, such as playing with your child or hanging out with friends.
8. Drink more water than usual. The need to drink more water is one of the physical symptoms of stress. Stress causes the body to continuously pump hormones, which overload the adrenal glands, which are responsible for generating a hormone called aldosterone that helps regulate fluid levels in the body. As adrenal fatigue progresses, aldosterone production decreases and triggers the desire to drink.
9. Get little sleep. Stress causes changes in sleep-wake dynamics. You are likely to sleep less than usual and have a hard time falling asleep. You will notice that you need more time to fall asleep, even if you are tired, because anxiety and worries do not leave you.
10. You start having nightmares. Dream content often reflects what one experiences during the day. Therefore, a hidden symptom of stress is nightmares or strange dreams that leave you exhausted. This is because during sleep the brain tries to process the negative emotions you felt during the day, so that if you are stressed, your dream content will reflect it.
11. Sweat more. When you are stressed, your body generates more adrenaline because the brain thinks you are in danger. This can cause the sweat glands to become overactive, resulting in increased sweating.
12. Making decisions has become an impossible mission. When you are stressed, it's not only difficult to make the important decisions, but also the simpler ones, like choosing what to eat or which movie to watch. The problem is that stress consumes your cognitive resources, so you run out of mental energy to evaluate options and their consequences, which leads to analysis paralysis.
13. You start having physical problems. Stress is reflected in the body. Therefore, if you have been stressed for a long time, it is not surprising that you start to suffer from problems such as tension-type headaches, muscle contractures, gastrointestinal disorders or skin problems. You will also likely notice that you are losing more hair than usual.
14. You get sick more often. Stress affects your immune system, making you more prone to disease. When you are tense, it is more difficult for your body to fight infectious agents, so it is likely that you will end up infecting yourself, the symptoms will be more intense and the convalescence longer.
15. Your appetite and weight change. One of the hidden symptoms of stress is found in the kitchen. When you are stressed your appetite changes. There are people who lose their appetite, but others eat a lot more while trying to compensate for negative emotions with food. As a result, you will notice that your body weight varies within a few weeks.