Stress is a big influence on our health. It's no longer the scorned 'yuppie disease', quite the opposite in fact because we now know that stress contributes to a whole heap of health issues.
Most of us know about the common symptoms such as high blood pressure, headaches and loss of sex drive. But is it possible to be stressed and not know it? Well, yes. This kind of stress is called 'Silent' or 'Iceberg' stress and you may have it if you've noticed any of the following problems.
Research indicates that up to a third of us are suffering from stress, and we don't even know it. Or rather, perhaps we choose not to call it stress.
Researchers looked at the physiological symptoms of those who declared themselves 'unstressed'. Participants kept a five day stress diary and produced four saliva samples a day which were tested for stress hormones. They discovered that high levels of two hormones secreted by the adrenal glands were present in those thought to be unstressed. This may indicate that they either simply didn't notice their stress level, or they choose to deny that something stressed them.
It's a problem because stress leads to an increased risk of heart attack, heart disease, stroke, cancer and depression, so it's important to realise when we are stressed and not just bury our heads.
It's not always a major event that stresses us out. It can be a row with your friend, a trying shopping trip or viewing a particularly heated Prime Minister's Questions. There are relaxation and coping techniques that can help. Perhaps it's time to start using these techniques each day just in case.