These Are The Signs That Your Stress Levels Are Putting Your Health At Risk

Do any of these red flags sound familiar?

Women's Health |

If someone says “I’m stressed”, we all know what they mean. It’s pretty normal, right? But prolonged high stress levels can be harmful, leading to all kinds of health issues, from anxiety and depression to actual physical reactions like strokes or heart attacks. So… which kind of stress do you have?

Assess your stress: normal, or next-level?

In small quantities, stress isn’t necessarily bad. It can motivate you to focus and get things done, like meeting a deadline at work, or running a marathon. It can even save your life. In “fight or flight” mode, your body releases stress hormones – think: adrenaline and cortisol. These cause your heart rate to speed up, your breathing to quicken and preps your muscles to respond to the stressor by fighting, fleeing, or freezing.

But… if your stress levels stay elevated for long periods of time – longer than required to deal with an immediate threat or challenge – your body’s natural stress response mechanism goes into overdrive. And when this happens, you’re in trouble.

Signs you’re way too stressed

Cognitive signs and symptoms may include: memory problems, inability to concentrate, poor judgement, extreme negativity, indecision, racing thoughts and constant worrying.

Emotional signs: feeling overwhelmed, loneliness or isolation, anxiety and agitation, persistently fearful, moodiness, easily tearful, irritability or anger, sadness, frustration, depression or general unhappiness.

Behavioural signs: withdrawing from others, eating more or less, sleeping too much or too little, procrastinating, being neglectful (self or others) and substance abuse – smoking, consuming excessive quantities of alcohol, or taking drugs.

Physical signs: nausea, dizziness, headaches, digestive problems, diarrhoea or constipation, aches and pains (such as chest pain), skin conditions (such as itching, rash, breakouts, eczema), weight loss or gain, stomach problems (diarrhoea), rapid heart rate, frequent colds or flu and loss of sex drive.

Sound like you?

Speak to your GP. Stress could be a symptom of an underlying problem – your doc might ask about your family history and take blood and urine tests to rule out various medical conditions. Then follow this advice to reduce the impact of stressors in your life…

Identify the warning signs

Acknowledge that you’re stressed, try to identify the warning signs (cognitive, emotional, behavioural and physical). Then try to identify the possible reasons for your angst.

Take control

Take small steps towards the things you can change. Focus on some (not necessarily all) of the things that trigger or make your stress worse. Say yes only to the things you can realistically get to on your to-do list. Learn to say no – and mean it. Try not to do everything at once. Ask for help and build supportive relationships.

Make lifestyle changes

Adjusting your lifestyle is critical. Regular physical activity, even 30 minutes three times a week, is a natural way to chill you out. The endorphin rush won’t hurt either.

Evidence proves that what we put into our bodies impacts our mood, so stock up on fruit, veggies, whole grains and oily fish. Consider taking a natural supplement to boost your intake.


Remotiv is a natural medicine that relieves stress and mild anxiety. Get it at Dis-Chem, Clicks or Wellness Warehouse.

R 299.95


Take time to relax and practise self-care – finding a balance between the responsibility you feel towards others and your responsibility to yourself is crucial for reducing stress.

Then make sure you get enough sleep – and we’re not talking adequate sleep every now and again, but proper restful sleep every night. Try limiting your caffeine intake (none preferably a couple of hours before going to bed). Also: no screen time at least an hour before bed. Make your bedroom a no-gadget zone.

Can a supplement really help?

It actually can. Remotiv® is a natural medicine that can help improve your ability to cope with stress by reducing the symptoms. Pre-clinical studies suggest that it may work indirectly on chemicals in the brain linked with stress, tension and mild to moderate anxiety and depression. It helps to relieve stress, irritability and restlessness, and mild to moderate anxiety and depression by helping to ease feelings of worry and nervousness. Try it.

Note: This is educational information only and should not be used for diagnosis. For more info on stress, consult your healthcare professional.

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