How do you know you’re experiencing stress? Sometimes, when stress is chronic, we get so use to experiencing stress that we don’t even notice when our body and mind don’t feel so well. We start to think that feeling stressed out is normal.
Being aware of your stress warning signs can help. Try this exercise to see if you can identify your symptoms and triggers.
My Body, My Mind Activity
First, download and print the My Body/My Mind diagram. If you don’t have a printer, take a look at the diagram and just draw a version on a blank sheet of paper. A simple outline is fine. Blank diagram >>
Now, think about how you experience stress. What does it feel like? What are your symptoms? People experience stress in lots of different ways. Stress can show up in your:
Body: headaches, stomach aches, trouble sleeping, neck pain, back pain, fatigue.
Behaviors: smoking, doing drugs, being bossy, chewing hair, backtalk/sass, nagging, short temper, moody.
Mind: being forgetful, can’t make decisions, fuzzy thinking, constant worry, loss of sense of humor
Feelings: sadness, overwhelmed, lonely, edgy/ready to explode, angry
Remember, these are just examples. Everyone’s are different, because we are all unique. And there are lots of examples that don’t show up on these lists.
Now, think about your stress triggers. For some people, it’s easier to be aware of circumstances that cause them to experience stress, rather than be aware of their own symptoms.
Triggers can be:
- Events: Riding bus, talking to teacher, homework, etc.
- Times: Bedtime, getting ready for school, lunch period, etc.
Remember that they are just examples! Yours may be entirely different. That’s fine. This is about you.
Once you identify your triggers, draw or write them around the body diagram.
Now that you have identified your stress symptoms and triggers, you can be aware when they are happening and take action by using a healthy strategy or technique.