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5 Signs Your Stress Is More Than Just Stress

Stress affects all of us to some degree. While others may seem incredibly equipped to handle whatever comes their way, some people feel overwhelmed as soon as the waters get rocky.

Psychologists and medical researchers have known stress isn’t healthy for us for quite some time now. It’s like saying alcohol is bad for you – we’re all aware, but do any of us truly understand just how bad it is? Recent findings have shown that stress is actually far more detrimental than once thought. In fact, stress has been called a silent killer – especially if it is left untreated.

As our society learns more and more about the mind-body connection, it’s easy to see just how damaged our physical and mental health can become when we let stress manifest over time.

So, what’s a ‘healthy level of stress’? How can you tell if your stress is something to be concerned about? Let’s talk all about what stress is, how untreated stress can wreak havoc on your entire body, and a few signs that may point to your stress being more than, well, stress.


What Is Stress?

Stress is our body’s natural response when we feel either under pressure or under attack. It’s a primal instinct dating back to our early ancestors. In order to survive predators, our bodies had to give a signal it was time to respond quickly.

While we’re not out here battling ferocious beasts, many of us still feel stress on a daily basis.

Symptoms of stress include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Panic
  • Blurred eyes
  • Sleep strain
  • Fatigue
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Tension
  • Stomach aches and pains


Is There Such Thing As a ‘Healthy Level of Stress’?

As we discussed, stress was developed as an ancient way of staying alive. Even in this day and age, there are actually benefits of stress that do not involve life-or-death scenarios.

A healthy level of stress can motivate us, push us to work harder, keep us on track to meet our goals, and makes us smarter, happier, and more well-rounded human beings.

In addition, healthy stress can both inspire and motivate us, as well as enhance our performance – whether that be at work, at school, or in the home.

A “good” level of stress is called ‘eustress’ and is the type you feel when you’re excited. Think about how you feel when you’re getting ready for a first date or riding a roller coaster. Healthy stress is short-lived and often subsides after an event occurs.


5 Signs Your Stress May be More Than Stress

What Is Unhealthy Stress?

On the flipside, unhealthy stress leaves us feeling burnt out, exhausted, unmotivated, and confused. Instead of slowly disappearing, unhealthy stress sticks around and continues to produce our body’s ‘fight or flight’ hormone: cortisol.

When stress is unmanaged, these higher levels of cortisol can then manifest into bigger problems. Many various conditions such as depression and anxiety are a result of chronic stress left untreated.

So, how do you know when your stress is no longer just stress?


5 Signs It Is More Than Stress

Whether it started out as stress in your marriage, work, financial situation, or major personal changes, it can grow and become a bigger problem that seeps into every area of your life.

Let’s explore a few signs that indicate your stress is more than stress.

Your Sleep Is Thrown Out of Balance

Sleep is our body’s method of repairing all the wear and tear that occurred during the day. This is both mental, and physical. When our sleep suffers, so does the rest of our health.

Occasional restlessness is common, however, if you’re having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or going back to sleep after waking, you may need to pay your mental health some attention. In addition, if your stress is causing you to reach for drugs or alcohol in order to wind down, your body might be trying to tell you something.

You are So Stressed, You Don’t Enjoy Life Anymore

Stress can often rule our minds and take over for a period of time. This can make it difficult to spend time on ourselves, or invest in what makes us happy. However, if you experience high levels of stress that are leaving you feeling empty and unable to enjoy the things you used to, you may be dipping into the depression range.

Not only do you find life dull and bland, but you may also have lost your interest in being around others and socialising. If you were once an extrovert but find yourself isolating, you may need to evaluate your feelings of depression or anxiety.

You Are Angry… All The Time

Sure, having a lot on our plates can make us unable to handle much else, but a healthy level of stress means still being able to emotionally regulate. If you find that every little thing is either negative, irritating, or causes you to lash out at others, you may have a deeper issue going on.

A heightened reaction to loud noises, unpleasant tasks, or minor inconveniences can signal a mental health condition lying dormant, disguised as stress. For example, borderline personality disorder often mimics these symptoms when combined with roller coaster relationships.

You Are Drinking a Lot

If you cannot seem to find peace until you’ve come home and poured yourself a glass of wine, your stress may be hiding something. Drinking more than you usually do or reaching for substances to cope with life are often hallmark signs that there is something deeper happening behind the scenes.

Alcohol may work to quiet the raging storm of stress inside of you but often make things much worse while doing nothing to solve the real problem.

You Have No Energy Left

If your stress is making you feel like a shell of yourself, you might be on the way to experiencing burnout.

Burnout is a mental health condition caused by prolonged, unregulated stress. Our nervous systems become so overwhelmed by stress it essentially shuts down. Burnout is often associated with an excess workload, however parents, students, and other individuals can experience this phenomenon.

Burnout can then manifest into bigger mental health problems such as depression if left untreated. Feeling run down, or unable to find motivation for life can be signals of a deeper mental illness.


Final Thoughts

Stress is our body’s way of handling life’s obstacles. While healthy, short-term stress is beneficial, chronic, long-term stress is detrimental.

In addition, there are various mental health conditions that may present themselves as stress, or an inability to handle stress. It is important to speak with your mental health professional if you feel as though you are experiencing any of the signs discussed above.

Think of stress like weights on a table. Eventually, the table will bend and break. However, through research, education, stress management skills, and professional help, you can take back control of your body and your mind.


Orchestrate Health offers bespoke mental health services that people can access from the comfort of their own home or within their community, with rapid response times and even daily visits if needed. Orchestrate Health can provide help for those struggling with stress, and remove the inconvenience of travelling to and from appointments.








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