Stress isn’t all bad, unless it’s ignored, deeply-destructive, or it carries on for long times, unheeded.
Part of the reason I see a lot of people “ignoring” stress is that it masquerades as the states of being we’re used to experiencing as NORMAL.
I find myself majorly impacted by stress when I stop paying attention to the signs my life gives me. I mean, it’s a huge part of my work to see and understand energy and even mental clutter and keep life in flow. But, even the great times of creative flow can have challenges built-in and the challenges are a thrilling part of life.
That said, while I rarely feel stressed or like I’m unravelling for the last few years, but sometimes my body show me that I’m stressing out a bit too much to ignore it!
Here are a few signs of “hidden” or unacknowledged stress that might be silently brewing.
Being able to catch stress early and untangle it— rather than waiting for a meltdown to occur!— is a very good skill to cultivate.
Do you have hidden stress?
Some ways that stress- even positive stress- might reveal itself to be throwing your off balance (and how to start fixing it!) :
1. Skipping meals. We can call this a bad habit, but its a hidden stress, trust me. No one functions well without proper nutrition throughout the day. You can’t rely on a vitamin pill, you must eat regularly or lots of other things- shaking, panic, exhaustion, hazy focus- will pop up to show you how stressed out your body is!
2. Missing sleep for a long while. Ever been so “engaged” in life, even in a positive way, that you start sleeping less? Watch for this one because it’s a sign that even your most positive life events- if prolonged- are at an intensity that could be throwing you off kilter.
Take naps and don’t skip meals.
Or take a catch-up day on sleep before you start to burn out.
When good things happen we have to re-calibrate to grow and expand rather than over-excite and get run-down.
3. Nightmares. If something is not being handled in your waking life it might show up in your dreams. Keep a dream journal if you are in a pattern of vivid or disturbing dreams. Write what you remember right upon waking up in a journal that stays beside your bed. You might be able to pinpoint where and what is causing you distress by looking at the emotion coming through in your dream state.
4. Obsessive thoughts, even if they are positive. Too much of anything becomes bad. If you are really focused on any one thing for a period of time, obsessively, that can be imbalanced in a big way.
For a really fulfilled life, try reaching in life in areas you have neglected in the past… or are neglecting in the present! For example, if you let fitness fall of your radar, schedule weekend hikes for the next month and see what happens!
5. Sore neck/body. This is a big hidden stress sign. You can be buzzing along and seemingly handling your lightning pace just fine with a constant pain in your neck or hips or lower back. Don’t neglect your body!
Baths, bodywork, exercise… they are all important.
Also check the ergonomics of your desk or work space- it could be putting stress on your body, too.
6. Jaw & Toothaches. If you have headaches and other pains, you might want to check to see if you are grinding your teeth at night. A dentist can help you to get aligned and stop clenching your jaw, another silent stress sign.
7. Breakouts! If you are otherwise happy and healthy but start have skin break outs- either in acne or in rashes- something is setting your body off kilter. Take note of these changes and consider what could be beneath your skin issues- anything from stress to allergies to hormone imbalances and environmental triggers. See a dermatologist if these issues persist- they might be a sign of something else in your body that needs to be balanced.
If you pay attention to little ways that your body is telling you it’s out of whack and take action to set them straight, you’ll avoid bigger problems in the long run.
Pay attention and trust your instincts.
Even just letting yourself sleep more, taking a long walk or spending some time tucked away with a good book can make a difference.
Be happy & be well!
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