Often stress management and, subsequently, stress relief are made difficult because symptoms are misdiagnosed. This is because stress can compound or be mistaken for other symptoms. This confusion is caused by the fact that stress is interrelated to physical, mental, behavioral and emotional conditions.
Physical signs of stress can include fatigue, insomnia, muscle pain, heart palpitations, cramps, trembling, cold extremities and perspiration. Short attention spans, forgetfulness, indecisiveness, confusion and humorlessness are evidence of mental stress.
Angry outbursts, crying, smoking, drinking, over eating and nervous nail-biting and foot tapping are symptoms of behavioral stress. While emotional stress can be seen in depression, worry, impatience, anxiety and nervousness.
As you can see, there's overlap in these symptoms. And when you combine any of them with the "pain cycle of chronic stress," discussed later, getting to the root cause of stress and the pain it's triggering requires the talents of a skilled and insightful professional.
Acute stress is an immediate, yet temporary, incident (like an argument or traffic jam) that creates unexpected circumstances in our lives. Generally, we adapt to this sudden change and the stress is resolved. Yet, even brief encounters with sudden stress like this can induce physical reactions such as headache pain which may last for hours.
Sudden changes to our daily life can be viewed as acute stress, yet their impact can result in physical illness and even death in the following months. The death of a spouse, divorce, marital separation, prison time, family deaths, injuries, marriage, a job loss and even retirement are stressful events that can have a devastating impact on our health.
Unlike acute stress, chronic stress is the result of continuous, unchanging circumstances, like persistent physical pain or an unpleasant lifestyle. Unrelenting stress can raise blood pressure to dangerous levels that might lead to a heat attack or stroke. It has been determined that stress is as great a contributing factor in heart disease as smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.