What are the symptoms of stress and why do they appear?
When a person experiences an external pressure or life event that he/she perceives as stressful, it can lead to a stress response. It can include a variety of symptoms, which are usually put into three categories: physiological, psychological and behavioural. During the physiological response, a number of hormones can be released, such as adrenaline and noradrenaline. They prepare a person for fight or flight response, together with some extra fats and sugars that are released into the blood to provide more energy.
The fight or flight response might be useful if there is a need to fight or flee, for example, if a person has to run away from an attacker. However, in modern life, there is often no reason to fight or flee. Nevertheless, people still experience physiological symptoms, such as palpitations, dry mouth, frequent colds and other infections, migraines and tension headaches, backaches, indigestion, asthma and various skin complaints. For example, before going to perform on stage, a performer might experience sweaty palms, even though there is no need to fight or flee.
In addition to that, the stress response can create psychological symptoms, such as feeling worried, depressed, guilty, having images of being out of control or things going wrong, not being able to concentrate or experiencing low self-esteem.
Finally, behavioural symptoms, such as irritability or aggressive behaviour, are common too. Stress can also lead to an increase of caffeine consumption and comfort eating, poor time management and doing things fast (e.g. talking or eating).
What could be done to reduce our levels of stress?
Sometimes it is possible not to realise that we are experiencing stress, however, in those cases stress symptoms might act as indicators, showing that our body and mind require more attention. Stress management coaching can help us manage our stress levels by applying various stress management techniques, such as:
Relaxation (e.g. breahting exerises)
Thinking skills (working with stress inducing and stress alleviating thinking)
Locus of control management
During 1-to-1 coaching sessions we explore the reasons behind the levels of experienced stress and ways of eliminating them. Working with a coach can help you find various ways to relax, expeirence better life/work balance and enjoy what you do.
Watch our coach Donata deliver this short imagery relaxation exercise to help you relax and feel calmer:
If you would like to explore more relaxed ways of living/working, please do not hesitate to contact Mental Skills Lab to arrange your personal coaching session:
Kenny, D. (2011). Epidemiology of music performance anxiety. In D. Kenny (Ed.), The psychology of music performance anxiety, (pp. 83-107). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Palmer, S., & Cooper, C. (2013). How to deal with stress. Croydon: Kogan Page.