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Jenny Gould Therapy

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By Jenny Gould, Feb 19 2012 07:41PM

Stress affects each of us differently, depending on our personality, background and experiences in life, and because we are all unique individuals the symptoms will vary – some will have more physical signs (e.g. headaches, back ache), others more emotional signs (e.g. easily upset, anxious) and others may have a predominance of behavioural symptoms (e.g. shouting, drinking too much). In my experience from working with stressed individuals, those suffering high levels of stress will be able to identify with many of the following signs and symptoms:

Physical Symptoms:

• Palpitations

• Pain & tightness in the chest

• Indigestion

• Breathlessness

• Nausea

• Tense shoulders, neck

• Tiredness

• Vague aches and pains

• Skin irritations/rashes

• Susceptibility to allergies

• Clenched jaw or fists

• Fainting

• Frequent colds or other infections

• Constipation or diarrhoea

• Rapid weight loss or gain

• Changes in menstrual cycle

Emotional Symptoms:

• Mood swings

• Increased worrying

• Feeling tense

• Drained, no enthusiasm

• Feeling angry

• Feeling guilty

• Feeling cynical

• Nervous, apprehensive, anxious

• Feeling helpless

• Loss of confidence

• Lack of self-esteem

• Unable to concentrate

• Withdrawal into daydreams

Behavioural Symptoms:

• Accident proneness

• Poor work

• Increased smoking

• Increased drinking of alcohol

• Increased dependence on drugs

• Overeating or loss of appetite

• Change in sleep pattern, difficulty sleeping, waking up tired.

• Loss of sex drive

• Poor time management

• Withdrawal from relationships

• Irritability

• Working longer hours, taking work home more often.

• Unable to relax

• Not looking after oneself

So how many of those signs have you experienced in the past month say, and which of the categories do your symptoms mainly fall into? It can also be helpful to try to identify your early warning signs. For example do you notice your shoulders getting tense, feel anxious, or find yourself losing your temper? The key to dealing with stress is to catch it early. At regular intervals throughout the day, take a moment to scan your body for signs of tension. That way you can take some action to prevent it from building up – you can take back control before it escalates.

I’ll be giving you lots of ideas for reducing stress later on.

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