How To Obliterate The 5 Most Common Symptoms of Stress

Been stressed lately?


Of course you have. Stress is inevitable, but suffering from its major symptoms is not.


We all experience stress. But it’s interesting to note that we all experience it in different ways. Some of us get lethargic when we’re stressed out, while others seem to be crackling with angry energy, like a live wire.


There are five symptoms that are the most common indicators of stress:


  • Physical pain (often headaches or stomachaches)
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Unhealthy behaviors (over- or under-eating, abandoning exercise, or taking up of vices)


We commonly don’t take the time to address or fix our symptoms of stress, because we think we’re too busy to deal with them! When we fall into a stress-cycle, our stress and busy-ness send off these symptoms as warning signs, begging us to address our stress level. When we ignore them, the symptoms themselves make us more stressed, and the cycle continues. Stress makes us irritable, which causes a headache, for example, and the headache causes more stress, and so on down the line.


If you are experiencing one or more of these five symptoms of stress, don’t just push through. You may feel “too busy,” to take the time out of your busy day to relieve your stress symptoms, but research shows you physically and mentally cannot do your best work when your body is being flooded with adrenalin, cortisol, and just plain too. Much. Work.


First, stop what you are doing. Physically stop for several minutes and allow your brain time to reset. This allows the stress alarms in your brain to shut off.


Next, select an activity that moves your work forward but doesn’t require anxiety or panic. For example, when I’m in this mode I like to take out my colored sticky flags and tab my research by subject area. It’s work that has to be done, but it’s mostly busy-work. This type of activity allows you to move slowly out of panic mode.


Finally, and this is the most important, as you gear back up to your regular activities, be sure that you maintain what’s known as an “internal locus of control.” This means that you maintain ownership over your activities, however that looks like in your life and your job. No, you may not be the ultimate decision-maker, but you absolutely do have power over your tasks and your priorities, and maintaining an internal locus of control means focusing on that power. Studies show that having an internal locus of control is a key factor in preventing on-the-job overwhelm and burnout.


By taking control when you feel yourself suffering from one of these five common symptoms of stress, you’ll lessen the hold stress has on you and your opportunities to succeed.