Stress is unavoidable in life. Sometimes the way that people manifest their stress is unavoidable as well. For example, while some may appear calm, cool and collected during stressful times, others may exhibit behaviors that are beyond their control. Stress can cause a myriad of symptoms over time but what about the way we show stress in the moment? Probably the most common sign of stress is a headache which may or may not be manageable depending on the severity. Jaw clenching, shaking, sweaty palms and nausea are also common signs. In stressful situations I am a calm problem solver who takes action and leadership, although there are two major signs that come out uncontrollably when I am stressed.


The first is a rash that breaks out all over my face. Yep, just my face! (Why oh why couldn’t it be in a place that I could cover with clothing or at least somewhere less conspicuous!?! This has been ridiculous over the years to have a painful, red and raised rash all over my face and even into my scalp! EVERY SINGLE TIME I have traveled with my husband for business trips to meet important clients and colleagues, or for fun to spend some quality time together. I would show up with a funky face rash!!! (I would always be nervous about leaving my little ones while I went away). And of course my uncontrollable tremors, like I am on an overdose of NODOZ! REALLY not good for representing my husband in front of business contacts. (UGH!)

shaking puffer fish tremors embarassed stress

My other sign of stress is that my eyes dilate unequally due to sudden stress headache. The doctors found through MRI and other tests that my headaches  pinch the optical nerves in my left eye causing it to dilate larger than the right. Similar to the face rash, people look into your eyes when speaking to you and it is a funky thing to have to deal with. I have found that getting these “ticks” out of the way by giving a short and simple explanation to people makes us both more comfortable, but still makes things “awkward!”.

Here is an extreme close up of my rash (with make-up) and my one weird dilated eye on your right. (It is not very bad here, but gives the idea)

extreme closeup

No. . . take a CLOSER look!

extreme closeup

Some people have a twitchy eye, others feel faint, some may make crazy faces, bite their nails, cry, fidget, sweat profusely, vomit or even wet their pants depending on the situation. All of which can be embarrassing when they are out of your control.

What is your tick? How does your body manifest stress in a way that is difficult to control? OR are you the calm and cool one that doesn’t show a single sign.