Mental and Emotional Impact of Stress On Your Personality


In today’s fast-paced world, it can be very difficult to avoid stress entirely. What many people don’t realize is that stress can actually cause other short and long-term mental and emotional problems. It can also cause physical health issues, which end up forming and exacerbating a perpetual cycle of more mental and emotional issues. 

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to detect how stress can fundamentally alter your outlook on life and how you behave, as the changes don’t happen overnight. Understanding the effects of stress is an important first step as you make changes to keep stress at bay, and in turn, improve your overall mental health. 

Let’s take a look at how stress can impact your personality, as well as solutions on how to overcome these negative emotions.


The Effects of Stress on Your Body

When you’re struggling mentally and emotionally, it’s difficult to maintain a positive attitude. Anxiety and stress can lead to a number of physical ailments, including the following:

. Headache

. Fatigue

. Chest pain

. Muscle pain and tension

. Upset stomach

. Change in sex drive

. Difficulty sleeping


Naturally, even the most cheerful person may struggle to maintain a positive demeanor when coping with physical pain.

Stress Reduces Focus

Stressful feelings tend to take the forefront of your thoughts. This makes it difficult to be present when interacting with other people. Even if you have good intentions, stress has a way of prioritizing itself over emotions that aren’t critical to your immediate survival. 

Stress exists as a mechanism to let you know that there’s a problem, so other emotions like joy, compassion, excitement, and kindness may take a back seat to stress, simply because your body and mind tend to make stress the primary focus until you take steps to manage stress and ideally eliminate it entirely.

Stress Takes Many Forms

Stress is much more complex than many realize. For example, say you have an upcoming exam. Your stress is likely to manifest as nervousness or even anxiety. On the other hand, if your stress is due to being bullied, it may take the form of anger and resentment. Often, stress includes multiple other negative personality and behavior shifts simultaneously. Here is a list of the most common types of stress:

. Frustration

. Anger

. Hostility

. Impulsivity

. Irritability

. Laziness

. Social withdrawal

. Difficulty communicating

. Suspiciousness

. Defensiveness

. Confusion

. Difficulty concentrating

. Mania

. A lack of concern over appearance

. Obsessive-compulsive behavior

. Poor punctuality

. Poor work performance

Stress Affects Your Reactions

When faced with stress, it can be difficult to act rationally, even when fast with ordinary, everyday situations. Things that wouldn’t normally bother you can become triggers for outbursts that don’t align with your usual self. Choosing to live a simpler life can help you to better manage the causes of your stress, so you’re able to gain a better perspective that allows you to deal with mild or even severe adversity more appropriately.

Stress Can Lead to Bad Habits

Everyone copes with stress differently. There are positive outlets for releasing stress, such as stress management tools, resources, and toys. However, all too often, people turn to bad lifestyle habits in order to find temporary enjoyment. Drugs and alcohol are a common byproduct of a stressful life. Unfortunately, while they may provide immediate relief, they only end up causing more stress in the long run. 

Stress May Reduce Empathy

When you’re stressed out, it’s very difficult to care about other people’s problems. After all, you have your own problems, so it makes sense that you wouldn’t want to juggle theirs too. While there’s nothing wrong with focusing on your own self-improvement as a first priority, relationships with friends, family, and colleagues can suffer if you’re not able to empathize with them and act accordingly.

Steps You Can Take to Reduce Stress

The best way to keep stress at bay is to eliminate the immediate cause, but of course that’s not always a realistic possibility. Instead, look for ways to manage your stress in healthy ways. Try to understand that stress is going to happen, but it’s usually temporary—even if it seems like it will never fade. Here are some action steps you can take to combat  stress:

. Exercise regularly

. Try to maintain a sense of humor

. Fellowship with loved ones

. Set aside time to pursue your hobbies and passions

. Meditate regularly

. Maintain a healthy diet

. Avoid drugs, alcohol, and tobacco

. Be assertive (say “no” to stress triggers)

. Be realistic with your goals and expectations

. Be mindful and aware of your negative emotions

. Listen to soothing music

. Talk to a mental health professional

. Improve your sleep habits

The Journey Is Never Over

Stress comes and goes. You can take solace in the fact that your stress will eventually fade, but it’s important to recognize that stress ebbs and flows, and it will inevitably be back. Try to embrace long-term lifestyle habits that solidify who you are as a person so stress doesn’t transform who you are at your core. 

Remember that you’re not alone—every person on the planet experiences stress. How you manage it makes all the difference, not just for you, but for everyone you interact with. Do your best to stay positive and love your life, especially during the most turbulent times, and you’ll find that stress has less and less control over your personality as you learn to control it more effectively.

Tess DiNapoli

Tess DiNapoli is an artist, freelance writer, and content strategist. She has a passion for yoga and often writes about health and wellness, but also enjoys covering the fashion industry and world of fitness. ...(Read More)

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