How Stress Can Ruin Your Life

Chronic stress is a thief. It robs you of your happiness, your peace of mind and even your health. The loss of any one of those things could seriously ruin your life, and yet usually stress doesn’t stop at one. In the history of mankind, stress frequently meant the basic physical challenges of finding food, staying clothed and sheltered. Today, in our complex society where most of us lead lives of unmatched abundance that would boggle a primitive’s mind, our stress is generally mental in nature.

Stress comes from many different sources such as your job, your home life, your romantic relationship (or the lack of one) and your place in the community. If you are satisfied with your life, you probably have minimal stress to contend with, and what you do encounter is easily slept off so that you start the next day renewed and refreshed.

But what happens if your stress level doesn’t go away from one day to the next, and in fact increases each day? You reach a state of mind where you are so over-stressed and overwhelmed that you risk serious burnout.

Some of the symptoms of excess stress include:

  • Feeling you are ready to scream (and perhaps even screaming and yelling a lot at your coworkers, employees, family and friends)
  • Frequent arguments with anyone you encounter
  • Failed relationships
  • Impatient driving, such as tailgating the car in front of you when you drive, because you’re in such a hurry to get where you’re going
  • A sense that one more thing going wrong will send you over the top
  • Headaches and stomachaches that don’t go away
  • High blood pressure
  • Other physical symptoms such as a nervous tic or twitch on your face, shaky hands, sweaty palms, a rash on face or chest
  • Poor memory
  • Scattered focus

The “scattered focus” mentioned above is a particularly difficult thing to cope with when you are stressed out. It shows up in your inability to complete one project without anxiously starting another, then dropping that to work on something else entirely, and not finishing anything or doing anything well.

You may feel as if someone is chasing you with a whip and you must work harder and faster all the time. And yet, usually, that whip is in your mind. It is created by your perception of pending deadlines coupled with the fear that something awful will happen if you don’t get everything done.

Many times, of course, there are indeed penalties for being late at work or with certain bill payments. But the overall feeling of being driven to do a massive amount of tasks is generally stress-induced. Your body reacts to the unrelenting stress with a wide variety of ailments, some of them life-threatening such as cancer.

To combat your excess stress, it is vital to explore ways to control your tense reaction to life’s events before the symptoms of stress cause permanent damage in your life.

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