5 Signs of Stress Overload


High-stress levels are becoming more common in busy modern lifestyles. High levels of chronic (long-term) stress can be a major contributing factor towards many lifestyle-related diseases, and even small unexplained health issues. The good news is that stress is a modifiable risk factor, which means that it’s something you can change.

Here are a few of the signs and symptoms that may indicate stress overload.

  1. Rapid, shallow breathing

It’s fine to experience moments of panic where you feel your heart rate rising. However, your heart rate shouldn’t be constantly elevated. Coupled with this, you might find that your breathing is shallow and that you breathe in and out of the top part of the chest, rather than by taking full ‘belly’ breaths. If you regularly find yourself in a ‘panicked’ breathing pattern, take a step back and look at your stress levels.

  1. Inability to remain present

Are you constantly thinking ahead to the next task on your “to-do” list? Do you sometimes hear people talking to you but have no idea what they’re saying because you’re not really listening? Do you feel anxious because you have so much to do, and are you rushing throughout your entire day with barely a pause? The body requires regular moments of calm in order to be able to function optimally. Take a look at your stress levels if you feel like you’re constantly rushing and never enjoying the moment.

  1. No fun or rejuvenation

What are the things in your life that you find fun? Maybe it’s spending quality time with friends, or doing a certain hobby or activity regularly. Take a step back and check that ‘fun’ is a part of your life. What do you do to rejuvenate yourself? Do you go for regular massages or spa visits, spend time in nature, or book in regular breaks away? 

  1. Unexplained health niggles

Perhaps you eat well and exercise regularly but you always feel run down or sick? Maybe you’ve got some sort of skin problem and you know you don’t have allergies or intolerances. Similarly, maybe you’ve got digestive issues that miraculously clear up when you go on holiday? If you can’t find a cause behind your health niggles, take a look at your stress levels and determine whether they might be creating or adding to the problem

  1. Searching for ‘quick fixes’

Do you rush around and feel like you need regular ‘quick fixes’ such as caffeine and sugar to get you through the day, and then perhaps a wine or beer to relax at the end of the day? There’s nothing wrong with mindfully consuming these things some of the time, but if you are experiencing a deep need or craving for quick fixes then it’s time to take a look at your stress levels. High-stress levels and poor food choices often go hand in hand, so take a step back and slow down. 

To take the first steps towards reducing your stress levels, check out the following articles:

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