You have headaches, tight shoulders, tension and even anxiety. Your stomach may be in knots most of the day. You have a hard time falling asleep at night and feel wiped out during the day. You can’t concentrate and it feels like your brain is vibrating in your head. You feel overwhelmed by every task you try to tackle. You feel out of control when you are stressed out.
You are not being chased by a tiger, but your system is convinced that you are. And now you are in perpetual survival mode.
We are all familiar with the expression “fight or flight” (and the lesser known “freeze”) which goes way back to the days of surviving off the land and running away from predators. We fought the tiger or ran away from it. Stress was temporary and was positive in short duration to help us stay alive.
Our systems are still ancient in the way they respond to stress. Unfortunately for us, we are now living in a time of chronic stress. This is the kind of low-level stress that nags at you every day. It’s tricky because it may not have a specified start and you may not even recognize it until it shows up as negative physical symptoms. It could be a small unresolved issue in your relationship, or a constantly heavy workload sitting at a desk. It could be taking too little time to move your body or too little time spent sleeping. It could even be self-imposed like the need to be perfect.
You may be like the majority of people that think “I feel stressed out but right now I have nothing to be stressed about.” Which probably makes you feel awful. On top of being stressed.
You are not crazy and you are not alone.