Anxietycentre.com has coined the term, stress-response hyperstimulation. It means that the body has become overly stressed due to too frequent and/or dramatic stress responses.
When the body becomes overly stressed, it can exhibit symptoms of stress, such as the symptoms commonly associated with anxiety, since anxiety activates the stress response. For more information about anxiety and its stress-caused sensations and symptoms, see the anxiety symptoms page here.
Many anxious personalities are surprised when their bodies start producing strong symptoms of stress-response hyperstimulation (when the body becomes overly stressed). We often hear many anxious people say, “I don’t know what brought this on. My symptoms came out of nowhere!”
The truth is, the body gives us plenty of warning that its stress is elevating. So it’s not that the body isn’t letting us know it’s becoming overly stressed, but that many people aren’t aware of the signs of elevating stress.
To help you ward off a sudden onset of stress-caused symptoms, and to help you prevent a protracted recovery since recovering from stress-response hyperstimulation can take a lot longer than most people think, here are 10 common signs that your body’s stress is elevating.
If you feel one, many, or all of them, take heed, your body is heading toward stress-response hyperstimulation and its consequences:
- An abundance of nervous energy
Stress causes stimulation. If you feel an abundance of nervous energy, this is a good sign that your body is becoming overly stressed. While short periods of high energy are normal, especially when stressed or rushed, persistent nervous energy is a sign the body is becoming overly stressed.
- Racing mind/incessant mind chatter
Stress causes the electrical activity in the brain to increase. An increase in electrical activity can cause the brain to generate more thoughts than normal. Having a racing mind/incessant mind chatter is a good indication that your body’s stress is elevating.
- Difficulty resting
Stress stimulates the body. If you are having difficulty resting, this is often a sign that the body is becoming overly stressed. While it is normal to have difficulty settling the body after physical exertion, if your body refuses to settle after 20 minutes or so even after physical exertion, your body is becoming overly stressed (provided you haven’t ingested a stimulant).
- A persistent strong urge to go, go, go
Feeling like you have a persistent urge to go, go, go is a common indication of elevating stress. While we can go, go, go for a while, always being on the go will cause the body to eventually crash from hyperstimulation if we don’t give the body ample time to calm down and recover.
- You believe you have many things you need to get done all at once and the push to get them done is relentless
This is a common indication of elevating stress. It is normal to have periods of time where we are overly busy, but if this state persists, this generally means stress is elevating toward hyperstimulation. Keeping expectations realistic and giving the body ample time to recover can keep this factor in check.
- Feeling like you don’t want to take time to rest
If you aren’t taking time to rest because you don’t want to, this is another common indication that the body’s stress is elevating. Having busy episodes is normal. Being persistently busy and not feeling like you want to take time to rest, however, often means stress is elevating. It’s often the stimulation of stress that makes us feel like we don’t want to rest.
- Having sleep disturbances
Experiencing sleep disturbances is one of the most common signs of elevating stress. Disturbances can include, difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, waking up too early and having difficulty going back to sleep, having stress symptoms in your sleep, having stress symptoms that appear upon waking up, having stress symptoms that wake you up from sleep, having panic attacks that rouse you from sleep, having nightmares, having a hard time relaxing the body, etc., are all common indications that the body’s stress is elevating toward hyperstimulation.
- Craving raw sugar foods and junk food
Stress uses the body’s energy resources much faster than normal. If you are constantly craving raw sugar foods and junk food, which are high in sugar and calories, this may be a sign that your body’s stress is elevating.
- Desire to get things done in a hurry
Stress stimulates the body. The more stressed we become, the higher the simulation. High stimulation makes us rush and hurry. If you are feeling like you are always trying to get things done in a hurry, this could be a sign your body’s stress is elevating.
- Persistently feeling like you have too much to do and not enough time to get things done
Stress can make us feel that small tasks are too much, as well as make us feel overwhelmed. If you persistently feel you have too much to do and not enough time to get everything done, this is a common indication of elevated stress.
Of course, these aren’t the only indicators of elevating stress. But we thought this would be a good place to start. (We’ve listed an additional 10 in the Recovery Support area of our website, in the article “20 Signs Your Body Is Becoming Overly Stressed” which is located in Chapter 14.)
Fortunately, we can reverse a trend to hyperstimulation by recognizing when the body is heading there, and then taking action to deliberately reduce the body’s stress. Any activity that reduces stress can help calm the body down. Building in more rest and recovery time can keep the body from becoming stress-response hyperstimulated.
This is why regular deep relaxation is so helpful – it keeps the body from elevating toward stress-response hyperstimulation. The more often you practice a deep relaxation technique, the more opportunity your body has to reduce stress and recover.
If you notice one, many, or all of the above common stress indicators, be aware that your body’s stress is increasing. Being proactive about stress management can keep stress-response hyperstimulation and its symptoms at bay. This can also prevent symptoms of hyperstimulation from popping up ‘out of nowhere’ and becoming entrenched.
For a list of stress management strategies, as well as information on stress-response hyperstimulation and how to reverse and recover from it, member’s can visit Chapters 3, 4, and 14 in the Recovery Support area of our website.