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How Can I Know When I Am Getting Stressed Out

When the job, the kids and the world in general have become too much to handle is not the time to discover that your stress threshold has been breached. Stress is not something that comes on all at once. Like any disease it is slow growing and reaches a climax at some indeterminate point. It is imperative that you pay attention to the stress warning signs before something serious and irreversible occurs.

Recognizing the Antecedents of Stress

There are distinct alarms that should sound when life is becoming unbearable. Your body will forewarn you through specific symptoms of stress that are easily recognizable. Changes in your behavior, body and emotions make it possible to eliminate the stress prior to its becoming a true problem.  There is actually a stress index questionaire which you can take on-line and which is very similar to the questions a doctor might ask you.  Basically a score is computed using factors such as relationship turmoil, divorce, separation, death of parent or spouse, job difficulties or job loss, change of job, change of residence, etc.  These factors when totalled and acknowledged can add up to STRESS!


Professionals look for changes in everyday behavior as a primary symptom of excessive stress. People often adopt some type of coping mechanism that is readily noticeable to those around them, but difficult for that person to spot. An individual may begin to bite their nails, eat much more or much less than normal, sleep too much or not at all, or use drugs and alcohol to help them maintain a normal frame of reference. These stress warning signs are easy to see from the outside looking in, but if you are aware of what behaviors you use to cope, you can notice them also. While your situation is stress free, ask people what they have noticed that you do while under stress. It may be as simple as twirling your hair. Recognition of the symptoms is necessary to deal with the stress when it arises.


There are many physical changes associated with growing stress that can also be attributed to other ailments. A doctor will usually ask questions about stressors you may be experiencing in your life when you go for an appointment. One of the first symptoms you may notice is muscle tightness. This can be generalized, or it can be in some specific area. A lot of people will grind their teeth at night when they are beginning to experience stress. This will cause the jaw muscles to ache the next morning. Sometimes people will start to experience chest tightness or difficulty breathing. Other symptoms of stress could include irregular bowel movements, nausea, and a decreased libido.


If you find yourself snapping at everyone about everything for no apparent reason, you may be overly irritable. This is a clear symptom of stress it is possible that you may experience prolonged periods of depression and anxiety also. Crying excessively or even happiness disproportionate to a situation can be symptoms of stress. The reason for including the happiness is that it is sometimes a sign of mania which can be brought on by stress.

The reasons for stress are as varied as the people who exhibit the condition. However, the warning signs are relatively few. Basically, if you are doing things to excess, having too many emotional moments, or people are trying to avoid you because of your unpredictability, you may need to gauge the stress in your life. Many times it is prudent to seek professional help, because an unbiased third party may offer you a sounding board free of judgment.

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