KEY POINTS

  • National Stress Awareness Day takes place every first Wednesday of November
  • There are many symptoms associated with stress, some of which are less obvious
  • People can engage in simple activities to relieve their stress

The first Wednesday of November marks National Stress Awareness Day. It is a day when people can take a small step back to identify and deal with the stress that they may be suffering from, whether they're aware of it or not.

Stress is not exactly a bad thing because it is a normal reaction that keeps people alert, reactive to danger and even motivated. However, having too much of it can lead to serious harm to health and relationships.

Sometimes, people don't even realize that what they're experiencing is actually due to stress.

Common Signs Of Stress

The American Institute of Stress (AIS) listed the most common signs of stress, including the following:

  • Teeth grinding
  • Frequent headaches
  • Stuttering
  • Aches and pains
  • Dry mouth
  • Rashes
  • Excess flatulence
  • Reduced libido
  • An increase or decrease in appetite,

Other common symptoms include heartburn or stomach pain, acne, increased anger, insomnia, and other digestive issues such as constipation or diarrhea.

But some symptoms of stress are not obvious. Cases of forgetfulness, difficulties concentrating, feelings of loneliness, constant tiredness and excessive impulse buying may also signify that one is experiencing too much stress.

Others may also have nightmares or disturbing dreams, difficulties when it comes to learning new information, crying spells, disorganization, an increasing number of minor accidents, and reduced work efficiency. In some cases, people who don't usually get sick may get sick more frequently because stress might have already affected their immune system, making them more susceptible to infections.

The full list shows the many ways that stress may present itself in a variety of symptoms affecting physical, mental and emotional well-being. While common, stress can also lead to more serious conditions. As the Cleveland Clinic explains, stress has been linked to six of the leading causes of death including heart disease, cancer and suicide.

It could also lead to dangerous behaviors such as excessive gambling or use of substances like alcohol, tobacco or food in efforts to relieve the stress, leaving the stressed individual in a "vicious cycle."

Ways To Relieve Stress

There are several ways people can manage or relieve their stress. These can be as simple as playing with pets, reading, cooking, watching a movie or even just getting a haircut. For other individuals, stress relief can come from regular exercise or volunteer activities.

Cleveland Clinic also recommends various ways that people can stay on top of their stress levels, from eating healthier meals and getting enough sleep to seeking social support and avoiding compulsive behaviors as a means to relieve stress. There are also food that one can eat to boost mood during stressful times. 

It's important to remember that people experience stress in many different ways. Even the way individuals relieve their stress also varies, and what works for someone might not work for others.

Since stress isn't something that people can really avoid altogether, it's important to be more aware of how our bodies respond to stress, or too much of it, and the time-tested ways to relieve stress that have worked in the past.

If one feels that the effects of stress are getting a little out of hand, there is no harm is getting help, whether it's from a support system or from a healthcare professional. 

Stress Pictured: Representative image of a person experiencing stress. Photo: Pixabay