What is stress?
Stress is a normal psychological response to events that make you feel threatened or upset your balance in some way.
Causes of stress
External causes of stress
1. Major life changes
2. Work or school
3. Relationship difficulties
4. Financial problems
5. Being too busy
6. Children and family
Common internal causes of stress
1. Chronic worry
3. Negative self-talk
4. Unrealistic expectations/Perfectionism
5. Rigid thinking, lack of flexibility
6. All or nothing attitude
Signs and symptoms of stress overload
A. Emotional Symptoms
2. Irritability or short temper
3. Agitation, inability to relax
4. Feeling overwhelmed
5. Sense of loneliness and isolation
6. Depression or general unhappiness
B. Physical Symptoms
1. Aches and pains
2. Diarrhoea or constipation
3. Nausea, dizziness
4. Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
5. Loss of sex drive
6. Frequent colds
C. Behavioural Symptoms
1. Eating more or less
2. Sleeping too much or too little
3. Isolating yourself from others
4. Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
5.Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax
6. Nervousness habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)
How to manage stress?
Managing stress is all about taking charge: taking charge of your thoughts, your emotions, your schedule, your environment, and the way you deal with problems. Remember the following 4 A's:
1. Avoid unnecessary stress:- Not all stress can be avoided. But, by learning how to say no, distinguishing between “should” and “musts” on your to-do list, you can steer clear of most people or situations that stress you out.
2. Alter the situation:- If you can't avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it. Be more willing to compromise and try meeting others halfway on an issue.
3. Adapt to the stressor:- When you can't change the stressor, try changing yourself. And always look at the big picture: Is this really something worth getting upset about?
4. Accept the things you can't change:- Look for the upside in a situation-even the most stressful circumstances can be an opportunity for learning or personal growth. Learn to accept that no one, including you, is ever perfect.
Strengthening your physical health to overcome stress:
1. Set aside relaxation time:- Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing activate the body's relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the opposite of the stress response.
2. Exercise regularly:- Nothing beats high intensity exercise for releasing pent-up stress and tension.
3. Eat a healthy diet:- Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress.
4. Get plenty of sleep:- Feeling tired can increase stress by causing you to think irrationally. Keep your cool by getting a good night's sleep.