Symptoms of stress & 9 bad ways to cope with stress

What are the main symptoms of stress

Life is stressful. Very stressful. Managing time, finances, work, relationships  and other social and family responsibilities is no walk in the park. Often, when we struggle to cope with our stress, we turn to coping mechanisms - some of these mechanisms aren’t healthy. You need to identify which coping mechanisms may be causing more harm than good and find alternative ways to deal with your stress.

If you’re feeling stressed, you’re not alone. South Africans are stressed out! Unfortunately, too much stress isn’t healthy. If you’re constantly under stress, you’ll eventually start to function poorly. Warning signs of too much stress include:

  • Regular headaches
  • Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
  • Constant irritability
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Insomnia
  • Constantly feeling worried or obsessive thinking
  • Lack of concentration
  • Low self-esteem, feelings of isolation
  • Excessive substance abuse

How do you cope with stress?

Stress can be very scary and frustrating. And, you may use any possible way to deal with it. So, how do you know if the way(s) you’re coping with your stress is causing more harm than good?

We’ve listed some of the unhealthy ways people deal with stress. Do you use any of these bad coping mechanisms?

Binge eating

Do you use unhealthy eating habits to cope with stress? Stress can lead to the infamous eating disorder - binge eating. This is because of the hormones it releases. If you’re stressed out, you may crave high fat, carby and sugary ‘comfort foods’.

However, for a short time, it may make you lose your appetite as it causes your body to produce adrenaline, which triggers your body’s fight-or-flight response. This physiological state puts wanting to eat on hold. But, if the stress continues, your adrenal glands will produce a hormone that increases your appetite. This can contribute to weight gain, fatigue, mood swings and trouble focusing.

Caffeine overloading

Coffee isn’t all that bad. In fact, it has many great antioxidant benefits. But, you should avoid having too much. Caffeine has an average half-life (how long it takes for it to become 50 percent less active in (or eliminated from) the bloodstream) of five to six hours in the body. During this time it hinders the body’s ability to absorb adenosine, a chemical that calms the body. So, while caffeine causes short-term alertness, it can cause sleep issues later on.

It also increases your adrenaline and dopamine levels, which may leave you feeling down once the effects wear off.

Retail therapy

Stress can lead to compulsive spending. If you find yourself spending more money in times of stress, you may want to find a cheaper coping mechanism. Overspending can lead to financial issues, which adds even more stress to the mix. This can make you feel ashamed and upset.

Smoking cigarettes

A cigarette may feel like a good stress reliever, but in the long run, it may cause you to feel more anxious. says that smoking isn’t a long-term stress reliever, but it may actually cause more stress as cravings for nicotine may make you feel stressed because your body begins to go through withdrawal.

Alcohol abuse

Alcohol is definitely a very short-term fix for stress. Long-term alcohol abuse can alter your brain’s chemistry and cause a hormone imbalance. This can impact your entire body. A long-term drinker may experience higher levels of anxiety when faced with a stressful situation than someone who does not abuse alcohol.

Over-the-counter drug abuse

Taking sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, pain killers and other over-the-counter drugs may seem harmless, but you’re just covering over the real problem. Instead of masking the symptoms caused by stress, you need to address the cause of stress properly.

Sleeping problems

Sleeping too much or too little may be a sign of stress. Stress often affects the quality of your sleep as you lie in bed, worrying and feeling anxious instead of relaxing and quieting your mind enough to fall asleep.

If you don’t get enough sleep at night, your body may increase levels of stress hormones - what a vicious cycle!

Withdrawing from people

Stress may cause you to isolate yourself from others. If you’re spending too much time alone at home, this may be a sign of depression. This is not a good way to deal with stress at all.


Have you ever noticed that people who seem to work extremely hard seem more stressed out? This is because, working hard doesn’t always mean you’re getting a lot done. You may think working super hard can help you manage your stress but if you overwork and make mistakes or tire yourself out, this will only lead to more stress

Do you need a healthy solution for stress management?

Sfera Bio Nutrition has powerful products that can restore your body. Improve your energy and stress levels by boosting by using the following combination of natural supplements:

  • MemoryCare from our Advanced Mycology range. The all-natural blend of mushrooms, herbs and amino acids improves memory function, alleviates attention deficit disorder, improves long term memory function, repairs neurological trauma and reduces stress levels and anxiety.
  • Bacopin from our Ayurvedic Series range. Bacopin contains Bacopa, a tropical plant that is used to improve cognitive function, improve memory, reduce anxiety, reduce oxidation and sharpen your memory.
  • EnzyPS Phosphatidyl Serine and Phosphatidyl Serine Complex contain Phosphatidylserine, a phospholipid essential for proper and healthy brain function.  It’s known to improve symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, slows down age-related cognitive decline, reduces depression, boosts athletic performance, treats ADHD and improves Parkinson’s disease.
  • Magnesium Complex. Magnesium deficiency is caused by stress, disease, medications and intense physical activity. We need magnesium for energy production, nerve function, muscle relaxation, bone and tooth formation, potassium uptake, the production and use of insulin and so much more.

Beat stress and live life to the fullest with Sfera. Contact us for more information on how to manage stress in a healthy way.