What is stress?
In this day in age it feels like the word “stress” is in constant use in our vocabulary, whether this is from us or other people around us.
How does stress affect us and others? It got me thinking how stress imprints on our lives and if there is a way of managing our individual stress loads so we can lead happy and healthy lives while being productive and to help with that never ending to do list!
Health care professionals have conflicting opinions on whether stress is the cause of your problems or the result of them. Whatever the cause of your stress, it can sometimes be hard to find out what causes your stressful feelings or how to deal with them. These feelings can be a mixture of events or situations that we can feel immense pressure from or certain demands that can make coping difficult. In certain individuals stress can cause mental health problems or worsen existing mental health problems. For example, anxiety and depression can develop due to trying to manage or struggle with feelings of stress.
What causes stress?
Stress can be a build up of many factors. There maybe a lot of small challenges that build up or one major thing causing the stress. Listed below are some of the trigger points for stressful feelings:
- Not having control of certain outcomes or situations in your life
- Constantly worrying about something
- Being under a lot of pressure
- Facing big changes
There are certain signs that indicate that you may be dealing with stress in your life. As humans we all deal with stress and situations differently and although for some people they can detect this other people may not be able to tell straight away when they are under stress. Stress can affect you physically and emotionally and also have an influence on your behaviour.
- Unable to concentrate
- Feeling tearful or crying
- Avoiding troubling situations
- Difficulty in making decisions
- Anxious or feelings of dread
- Irritable or impatient
Common symptoms or signs of stress
- Panic attacks
- Nightmares or problems sleeping
- Lethargic feelings and feeling exhausted
- Hyperventilating or shallow breathing
- Feeling faint or sick
- Tension in the jaw or grinding your teeth
Tips To Help In Dealing With Stress
Here are some useful tools that can help in dealing with stress and pressure. There are also some changes and steps that you can implement into your lifestyle to effectively learn to manage stress and relieve pressure.
- Take things slowly and be sure to take regular breaks, this can be very helpful when you are feeling overwhelmed and can increase productivity in the long run. This also helps you to gain clarity in the early stages and create a space to reflect and gain awareness.
- Making lists of things to do or a check list can help to prioritise aspects of your life. You can arrange them in order of importance and also gain perspective of what could be put back in order of importance or delegated elsewhere if that is possible.
- Take one step at a time. You can actually increase pressure on yourself by trying to do too much at one time and unknowingly create more stress. Breaking tasks into small, manageable sections can also be helpful.
In my next follow on article I will be looking in more depth at our responses to stress and developing certain techniques and lifestyle changes that can be implemented to our daily routines. These tools can bring more emotional resilience, reduce the impact of stress and help to encourage more balance and build on creating space for positive feelings.