September 2, 2015
understanding stress
stress management at work
type a & b behavior patterns
biofeedback training & relaxation
thinking differently
communication and stress
time management
to understanding stress

stress definition and theory

common symptoms of distress

life events questionnaire

types of stressors

daily hassles and uplifts

identification of stressors

american institute for preventive medicine


common symptoms of distress  

Most people have symptoms of distress every day. Many times we accept them as part of a normal day. In order to reduce the wear and tear upon the body, one must first increase awareness. Read over the list that follows. Make a mental note or place a mark next to those items that relate to you – especially when you experience stress. Go back and make a second mark if you experience this symptom frequently. Write in any other symptoms you experience when feeling stressed. It may be wise to discuss those items checked twice with a health professional. While many conditions are stress related, this does not mean that they do not require medical attention to reduce the wear and tear upon the body. At any rate, these symptoms can be wake-up calls to action for increased self-care or medical intervention. Notice that the symptoms are divided into four groups. This can be helpful when later selecting stress management techniques.

Physical Symptoms of Distress Involving Skeletal Muscles
  1. Tension headaches
  2. Frowning
  3. Gritting or grinding of teeth
  4. Jaw pain
  5. Stuttering or stammering
  6. Trembling of lips or hands
  7. Muscle tenseness, bracing, and aches
  8. Neck aches
  9. Back pain
  10. Aggressive body language

Physical Symptoms of Distress Involving the Autonomic Nervous System
  1. Migraine headaches
  2. Increased sensitivity to light and sound
  3. Lightheadedness, faintness, or dizziness
  4. Ringing in ears
  5. Enlarged pupils
  6. Blushing
  7. Dry mouth
  8. Problems swallowing
  9. Frequent colds or bouts with the flu
  10. Hives
  11. Rashes
  12. “Cold chills”, or “goose bumps”
  13. Heartburn, stomach cramping, or nausea
  14. Uneven or rapid heartbeat without exercising
  15. Difficulty breathing
  16. Sudden, suffocating panic, as if you are about to die
  17. Heart and chest pain
  18. Increased perspiration
  19. Night sweats
  20. Cold, sweaty hands
  21. Painfully cold hands and feet
  22. Gaseousness or belching
  23. Frequent urination
  24. Constipation
  25. Nervous diarrhea
  26. Lowered sexual desire
  27. Difficulty with sexual orgasm

Mental Symptoms of Distress
  1. Anxiety, worry, guilt or nervousness
  2. Increased anger and frustration
  3. Moodiness
  4. Depression
  5. Increased or decreased appetite
  6. Racing thoughts
  7. Nightmares
  8. Problems concentrating
  9. Trouble learning new information
  10. Forgetfulness
  11. Disorganization or confusion
  12. Difficulty making decisions
  13. A sense of being overloaded or overwhelmed by problems
  14. More frequent crying
  15. Suicidal thoughts
  16. Fear of getting close to people
  17. Loneliness

Behavioral Symptoms of Distress
  1. Inattention to dress or grooming
  2. More frequent lateness
  3. A more “serious” appearance
  4. Unusual behavior
  5. Nervous habits, such as finger or foot tapping
  6. Rushing around or pacing the floor
  7. Increased frustration and irritability
  8. Edginess
  9. Overreaction to small things
  10. Increased number of minor accidents
  11. Perfectionism
  12. Reduced work efficiency or productivity
  13. Lies or excuses to cover up poor work
  14. Fast or mumbled speech
  15. Defensiveness or suspiciousness
  16. Strained communication with others
  17. Social withdrawal
  18. Constant tiredness
  19. Sleep problems
  20. Frequent use of over-the-counter drugs
  21. Weight gain or loss without diet
  22. Increased smoking
  23. Recreational drug use
  24. Increased alcohol use
  25. Gambling or overspending

(Taken from: “The Doctor’s Guide to Instant Stress Relief: A Psychological and Medical System” by Ronald G. Nathan, Ph.D., Albany Medical College, New York, Thomas E. Staats, Ph.D., Louisiana State University School of Medicine in Shreveport, Paul J. Rosch, M.D., The American Institute of Stress, New York.)

…Change places demand upon the body…the result can be distress…the body requires rest or diversion


understanding stress
stress management at work
type a & b behavior patterns
biofeedback training & relaxation
thinking differently
communication and stress
time management
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