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Recognizing the Characteristics of Severe Stress and How to Overcome It

Severe stress can occur if a person experiences excessive mental or emotional stress. However, not everyone can immediately realize that he is suffering from severe stress. This condition can be immediately detected and dealt with, we need to recognize what are the characteristics of severe stress.

Severe stress can be caused by a variety of things, ranging from workloads, family problems, loss of loved ones, suffering from certain diseases, divorce, loss of work, to being in debt.

Physical stress symptoms

Actually, stress will cause some changes in the body. Well, this depends on the severity of the stress experienced. The stress is divided into 5 levels, from mild to severe.

First level

At this stage, stress is still considered normal and there is no need to worry. That is, stress is still mild, able to be overcome properly. For example, when you are nervous when going to make a public presentation.

You will remain confident to solve problems that arise and are able to control emotions well. In fact, this doesn't affect your daily routine, you can still eat heartily, sleep well, and keep working spirit.

Second level

This is indicated if the stress experienced has begun to disrupt daily activities. For example, losing someone who is loved or broken up from a partner. When you happen, various negative emotions will emerge, such as anger, disappointment, sadness, or despair.

Usually, people who are in this condition will begin to feel unable to withstand stress and pressure. Therefore, various physical changes have started to emerge, for example, the body is lethargic, not powerful, the heart is beating, and the muscles are tight, causing pain.

Third level

If the previous stress cannot be overcome, negative emotions will continue to emerge and eventually get worse. Well, the most typical symptom of third level stress changes in body function.

People with this level of stress are usually often insomnia, indigestion arises, such as stomach acid disorders and frequent bowel movements or irregular urination. If people who experience stress have other conditions, the symptoms of the disease will worsen.

Fourth level

Stress at this level is generally very difficult to overcome and indicates a critical condition. Because, negative emotions often appear without you knowing it, making it difficult for you to focus on something. In addition, stress can also interfere with the chemical processes in the brain, thus disrupting cognitive function.

If not treated immediately, stress symptoms become more severe and can turn into depression, panic attacks, anxiety disorders, or bipolar disorder. In fact, making someone commit suicide in order to be free from stress.

Fifth level

This level indicates that the stress experienced does not improve and eventually gets worse. People with this condition, will withdraw from social life, cannot carry out daily activities properly, and feel pain throughout the day.

The faster the stress is handled, the faster the recovery will be. However, if the stress is very severe, usually it will require a long enough treatment. This can make sufferers increasingly depressed and even desperate because they think there is no hope for recovery.

Characteristics of Severe Stress

Severe stress can affect various aspects of life, ranging from emotions, behavior, thinking skills, to health. Before causing wider problems, it is important to recognize the characteristics of severe stress so that this condition can be treated immediately.

The characteristics of a person experiencing severe stress include:

  • Easily agitated, feeling frustrated, and often looks depressed.
  • Easily offended.
  • Feeling unkind and worthless, and feeling so depressed.
  • Cannot think calmly.
  • No energy or passion.
  • Can not sleep or experience insomnia.
  • Easily hurt.
  • Frequent headaches.
  • Often experience digestive disorders, such as bloating, diarrhea, and constipation.
  • Appetite decreases or does not have an appetite.

Various Ways to Overcome Severe Stress

Severe stress that is not handled properly can increase the risk of various diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, stomach acid, asthma, and mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety disorders.

To deal with severe stress, there are various ways you can do, namely:

1. Positive thinking

It's not easy, but you still have to try to think positively about the problem you are facing.

Try to remind or motivate yourself about the positive things that you have and you should be grateful for it. This method can reduce the severe stress you experience.

2. Write a diary

Pouring complaints into writing can help relieve stress. By writing down all your complaints, the worries you feel can be reduced. You can even understand and manage emotions better afterward.

3. Tell the closest person

Don't harbor problems yourself, but try to share what you experience and feel with family or friends. By telling the closest person, the burden you feel can be reduced.

4. Get enough sleep

Getting enough sleep can also help you deal with severe stress. Try listening to music before bed, so that the mind becomes more relaxed. In addition, you can also take a warm bath before bedtime.

5. Go on vacation

To reduce the severe stress you experience, take time off from work to go on vacation. This can make the mind more refreshed, so that stress can be reduced.

If the methods above have been done but the severe stress that you experience has not been resolved properly, consult your psychologist immediately. Psychologists can help you find the right solution for managing the stress that you are experiencing.



1. American Psychological Association. Listening to The Warning Sign of Stress. 

2. Link, R. Healthline (2018). 11 Signs and Symptoms of Too Much Stress.

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