Part 1 of 3. (Part 2 can be found here.)
Everyone suffers from stress at different times throughout their day.
We all know that “good” stress can peak your adrenaline and actually help increase your performance and abilities in getting a job done. This kind of stress is critical on the battlefield. It’s when stress begins to control us, instead of us being in control of it, that it turns into “bad” stress. This decreases our ability to react and respond properly in situations and can be damaging to ourselves and others. Stress, much like high blood pressure, can be a “silent killer.” In a three-part series on Stress, we’ll look at how to recognize stress, what you can do to reduce stress, and how to create a stress management plan.
What is stress?
Stress is the response your body makes to outside anxieties and stimuli that may seem out of your control. Most stress is normal and necessary to our overall physical and mental health. “Good” stress allows us to become protectors of those around us in dangerous situations and triggers a lifesaving “flight or fight” response. Stress levels depend on the degree, intensity and frequency of demands put on us. When does stress cross the line and become harmful? When it has a negative and prolonged affect on your moods, physical health, aggression and the people around you.
Become aware of stress symptoms.
Always be aware of your own body and when it’s acting in a way that’s not normal. Stress shows up in many different ways and can often be overlooked or interpreted as something different. ALL of these symptoms don’t have to be present, just a few at a time.
- Symptoms that resemble a heart attack – chest pain and shortness of breath
- Prolonged increased blood pressure
- Outbursts of anger
- Feelings of “helplessness” and depression
- Withdrawing from normal activities and people
- Not responding to true danger around you – misinterpreting the situation along with confusion
- Dizzy spells, weak muscles and trembling, disorientation
- “Butterflies” in your stomach
- Frustrated thinking in problem solving and decision making
- Headache, sweating and “clamminess.”