Stress symptoms: how stress manifests

Stress Symptome: So macht sich Stress bemerkbar Stress Symptome: So macht sich Stress bemerkbar

Stress can be damaging, and on several levels. These are typical symptoms and reactions to stress.

What do we understand by stress?

A presentation in front of potential clients, the family party to be organised, the homework deadline that is looming: we all experience phases of stress but, as a rule, our body manages to recover. Not every reaction to stress is therefore associated with health risks. "It’s only when someone is permanently wired and no longer has any natural patterns of tension and relaxation that it becomes problematic," says stress expert Beate Schulze. Chronic stress is harmful to both body and psyche.

People who are stressed react irritably and aggressively, are suspicious, withdraw and no longer communicate properly.

Stress symptoms: how stress manifests itself

Signs of stress

Physical symptoms

  • Headaches
  • Circulatory problems
  • Palpitations
  • Tension
  • Stomach pain
  • Digestive problems
  • Sleep disorders
  • Dizziness

Signs of stress

Psychological symptoms

  • Nervous agitation
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Feelings of helplessness and being overloaded
  • Pessimism
  • Despondency
  • Difficulties with concentration
  • Forgetfulness or difficulty facing new situations

Stress reaction: our behaviour changes

In addition, stress causes behaviour changes which can often lead to conflict in personal relationships or at work: people who are stressed react irritably and aggressively, are suspicious, withdraw and no longer communicate properly. This is accompanied by self-destructive behaviour: not taking breaks, gulping down unhealthy food, drinking too much alcohol.

Stress is part of life but also has its good sides. It makes us tackle challenges, leading to happiness when we’ve overcome them.

Chronic stress: these are the consequences

In the long term, permanent stress can lead to serious illnesses such as cardiovascular disorders, cardiac arrhythmias, heart attacks, diabetes, stomach ulcers, depression and anxiety. According to the latest findings, the stress hormone cortisol is particularly dangerous. Beate Schulze: “If too much stress remains in the system, it can also trigger chronic diseases and even cancer.”

Signs of a burnout

Feeling physically and mentally exhausted can be a sign of burnout. The condition mostly affects people who are particularly dedicated and hard-working. Slipping into burnout is a gradual process that the victims themselves don't notice for a long time.

Besides complete exhaustion, two characteristics are typical:
  • An indifferent, detached or even cynical attitude towards work, clients or patients.
  • The feeling of achieving less and less, despite making an effort. The person loses confidence in their own ability.
Origin from physics

Who “invented” stress?

Material scientists needed an apt term for the practice of exposing a material to strong forces until it deforms – and invented the word “stress”. It was in the 1930s that biochemist and hormone researcher Hans Selye first showed that excessive pressure can also have serious consequences for human beings. He was also the first to apply the term “stress” to humans.

What is stress?

When under stress, the body activates all its resources to be able to react to danger: this is a sensible mechanism, provided that the state of alarm doesn’t go on indefinitely.

Reducing stress – finding suitable methods

“The absence of stress is death. Only dead people have no stress.” This quote is often attributed to the founder of modern stress research, Hans Selye (1907-1982). It's provocative, but also clear: stress is part of life but also has its good sides. It makes us tackle challenges, leading to happiness when we’ve overcome them. Researchers call the impulses that stimulate us in a positive way eustress. Focus today however is laid on negative distress, i.e. things that weigh us down. And there is no objective way of measuring this. "Each person reacts differently to stress," says Aurélie Lattion from stressnetwork.ch, a scientist association. That's why it's also important to find out which methods help you personally to reduce stress best.

What would you like to read now?

Well looked after with CSS

Sleeping badly?
Online sleep training helps you get to sleep and stay asleep.
Find out more
Negative thoughts?
Get effective help when depressed or feeling down.
Get help
Earn up to CHF 600
Use active365 and reward yourself for leading a healthy lifestyle.
Discover active365