Feeling Trapped: Symptoms of Stress!

Symptoms of Stress

Is your leadership style creating stress in your organization?

If it is then it is costing you and your company dearly.

Prolonged stress is linked to numerous life-threatening diseases and debilitating disorders.   Prolonged stress can be a major contributor to a myriad of addictions, including drug, alcohol and cigarettes.  The effects of stress are also linked to obesity and suicide.  Evidence suggests that stress is the major cause of turnover in organizations.

About one-third of workers report high levels of stress. One-quarter of employees view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives. Three-quarters of employees believe the worker has more on-the-job stress than a generation ago.

As explained in the Feeling Trapped: Stressed Out! article.   The first step to minimizing stress begins with awareness.

As a responsible Leader you need to be aware of what the Symptoms of Stress are.

When the body perceives a threat, the adrenal glands release stress hormones. The perceived threat can be a physical or emotional threat.  When these chemicals are released they are stimulants to the brain and body to react.  Some of our body’s reactions are:

  • Increasing muscle tension
  • Increasing blood pressure
  • Increasing blood sugar levels
  • Increasing heart rate
  • Speeding up of metabolism
  • Minimizing the output of regulatory hormones
  • Diverting blood flow from the brain to the extremities
  • Increasing respiratory rate

There are many physical symptoms that these changes in the body can create.

Here are some examples:

  • Fatigue
  • Increase in bodily sweat
  • Clenched teeth
  • Headache
  • Short and shallow breathing
  • Palpitations of the heart
  • Knot in the stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Hands shaking
  • Back and neck pain
  • Heartburn
  • Blushing
  • Eczema
  • Hives
  • Psoriasis
  • Trouble sleeping

Our brain’s reaction to these symptoms of stress is what gives us our feelings of stress.

Some examples are:

  • Nervousness
  • Anxiousness
  • Depression
  • Incessant mind chatter
  • Fearfulness
  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Poor concentration
  • Brain in a fog
  • Lack of self confidence
  • Inability to make decisions
  • Poor judgment
  • Helplessness
  • Lack of control
  • Hopelessness

When you are stressed it causes stress in your organization, whether you like it or not, or whether you realize it or not.

The challenge for most Leaders is actually being cognizant of when we are stressed.  It is such an habitual state for us to be in, that most of the time we don’t even know when we are in it!

Now that you know more about the general Symptoms of Stress, it’s time to take it to a more individual level.  We all have distinctive and personal indicators that we manifest when we are feeling stressed.

What are yours?

Physical symptoms are the most obvious:

Do you bite your nails?

Do you perspire?

Do you clench your teeth?

Do you get a headache or feel your neck muscles getting tight?

Maybe you don’t have any obvious physical symptoms because your signs are more intangible.

Do you feel overwhelmed?

Do you get anxious?

Maybe you are irritable?

Maybe afraid?

Do you get curt with people because you are frustrated with what you perceive as their ineptness?

If you want to cope with your stress then you need to recognize what types of behavior you exhibit while in a “stressful state” and which situations trigger these behaviors.

Step 1.

Contemplate on what your significant symptoms are when you are feeling stressed. List as many as possible.

Step 2.

Go through each point and reflect on it. Write down in as much detail as possible the situations that usually trigger these stressors.

You are now raising your awareness as to your personal stress triggers.  This is a vital step to ultimately minimizing your stress.  In the upcoming January article in the Feeling Trapped Series on Stress you will learn how to use your personal stress triggers to lower your stress levels.  Don’t forget to bring your List of Stress Triggers with you!

Do you recognize any of these symptoms of stress in your employees?  Is stress impacting your organization?  How is stress impacting your leadership?


Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today here!
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Karen Parsons
Karen Parsons is president of Successful Solutions Life Coaching
She offers Life, Business and Career Coaching for Individuals and Organizations
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Blog

Image Sources: stress-treatment-21.com

Feeling Trapped: Stressed Out!


Feeling Stressed?

Stress is everywhere! It is like an outbreak hitting everyone. It almost feels like it is contagious and spreading!!

Many leaders are stressed out, so naturally, they think this is a normal condition. But is it? Does it have to be this way?

I Say NO!

Life doesn’t have to be lived under so much negative stress!

Stress does have a purpose and it is useful sometimes. But many of us are under a great deal of negative stress which can actually be life-threatening instead of life-supporting! At the least, it is turning us gray and raising our blood pressure. This high level of stress shows up at work, at home and in our relationships. And it’s just not smart to live with.

Stress impacts your ability to perform and causes your leadership to suffer.

What To Do?

How can we manage our stress?

Well, actually you don’t manage stress, your best hope is to minimize stress. Most of our stress is self-induced and unnecessary.

So, how do you minimize stress?

The first step always begins with awareness.

Stress Test

Let’s begin by understanding “what is stress?” According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

Stress noun \ˈstres\: “a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation”

Experts further define stress as the activation of the flight or fight response,” also called the “stress response.”

The stress response is your mental and physical reaction to a threat.  Whether it is a physical threat or a psychological one–your body goes into a heightened state of awareness. Your brain releases a flood of adrenaline to your body, your blood flow is increased to your muscles, your heartbeat quickens, and your senses are more acute.  All of this is in preparation to eitherfight or flee.

Hans Selye first introduced the concept of stress in the 1930’s.  He observed through various experiments with animals that when they were exposed to physical and emotional stimuli (later called “stressors”) they experienced pathological changes.

He also discovered that if these animals were exposed to these stressors long enough they developed diseases similar to the diseases of humans.  This was indeed a discovery because prior to this it was thought that disease was caused only by pathogens.

Hans Selye’s original definition of stress was as a response to a stimulus. However, the interpretation that most of us use to describe stress today is both as a response and as a stimulus.

You can feel stressed-out (response) by all of the stress in your life (stimulus).

So What’s the Deal

So really what it comes down to is: There is no real definition of stress because it is subjective.

What is stressful to one person may not be stressful to another. But most of us would agree that when we hear the word stress we think of it as something negative.

Stress in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There are times when being in this state can be very beneficial, like if you are competing in an athletic event or if you have to run from a predator or defend yourself from an assaulter.

Where we run into problems and why stress has a negative connotation is when our stress response is activated for prolonged periods of time.  This is when we develop continuing Symptoms of Stress.

What is important is that we realize the condition and work to reduce its occurrence and impact. This will help us think clearer and accomplish our goals as leaders easier.

Can you imagine a life where you don’t feel out of control?  Do you believe that you can have a balanced life where there is enough time to do what you need and want to do? Wow, a stress-free life, what would that feel like?  How would a reduction in stress impact your leadership?


Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today here!
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Karen Parsons
Karen Parsons is president of Successful Solutions Life Coaching
She offers Life, Business and Career Coaching for Individuals and Organizations
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Blog




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