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Stress is something that can creep up unnoticed. It’s often other people who notice your stress before you do. I’m not talking about the ‘bad day at the office’, but the stress that has built to the point where you aren’t quite coping. The kind of stress that’s been around long enough to change your behaviours. Here are 5 common behaviours that show you are stressed.

Procrastinating

We all procrastinate from time to time. It’s not always a bad thing as sometimes your subconscious is trying to tell you something. If it’s a habit, then it can reduce your productivity.

When you are stressed procrastination is taken to a whole new level. It feels as if you can’t start anything as it’s all going to be too difficult. None of the tricks you usually use to get started on new tasks works any more, in fact, you’ve given up trying those tricks.

Chasing Shiny New Things

Instead of doing things the same way as before, you look for a different way of doing it, sometimes known as ‘magpie syndrome’. You find yourself looking for a new app, a new process, or a new gadget which you hope will kick start your enthusiasm. In fact, you can’t find your enthusiasm wherever you look.

Keeping Your Feelings Bottled Up

If you are normally happy to talk about your feelings, or you can deal with them when they come up, bottling them up is a sign that something is wrong. Some people tend to be reserved when everything is OK. When you are stressed you actively hide feelings or push them away. What we are talking about here is a change in the way you deal with your feelings. You bury them so that other people don’t see them, and you fool yourself into not dealing with them at all.

Blaming Others

When things are not going well it is easy to blame others. When you are not stressed you can see, even if you don’t admit it fully, that your own behaviour may be a contributing factor to things not going to plan. When under a lot of stress, you stop seeing your own weaknesses and only see the failings of others. When things are bad this can become a victim mentality. You think that people are out to get you.

Using Alcohol or Drugs to Cope

You find that you are no longer just being recreational with alcohol (or drugs). You now use them as a prop or an escape. It’s not just class A drugs we’re talking about, it could be something you bought at the chemist, got on prescription or even be food. You can easily find yourself in the cycle of needing a tablet to help you sleep, a large hit of caffeine to wake up and a couple of drinks to unwind after your day.

What to do About Your Stress

The first step is in recognising you are stressed. This will be the single biggest factor in dealing with stress.

Talk to someone close and trustworthy about it all. I know it’s scary, but it can help tremendously.

If you want to learn coping skills and how to build resilience, then book a free chat with me to get started.

If the only person you feel can help is your GP then don’t worry about talking to them, they’ve helped loads of people in your shoes.

Above all, take faith in the fact that many, many people get stressed. Even from the darkest places things can be turned around and get back to ‘normal’.

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