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Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension resulting from a reaction to changes or challenges. Learn more about risk factors and how to better manage stress responses.

 


​What is Stress?​

Stress is a normal reaction that occurs when our bodies are under pressure or feeling threatened. It is common for everyone to experience stress at times.

Different levels of stress can affect us very differently. Appropriate levels of stress can motivate us to perform better and help us meet the different demands in our personal, family and work life. Stress can help your body adjust to new situations.

However, higher levels of stress can lead to a negative impact on one's mood, body and daily experiences.


What Talk About Stress? 

It is common for everyone to experience stress at times. Stress can be beneficial, keeping us alert and motivated in avoiding danger. However, when high levels of stress is prolonged, it causes wear and tear on your body and puts you at risk of developing medical illnesses (e.g. hypertension, diabetes) and mental health issues (e.g. depression, anxiety, burnout). You may also find yourself falling sick more easily due to a lowered immune system.


What are Examples of Stressors in Life? 

There are many aspects in our life that can contribute to the stress we experience at any one time. Life stressors can be contributed by challenges in our personal life, at work, in our relationships etc. We are vulnerable to experiencing excessive levels of stress when we are faced with multiple stressors in life.

Some examples of stress are:

  • Difficult world events (e.g. Covid-19 pandemic)

  • Family issues/strain

  • Relationship problems

  • Grief over the loss of loved ones

  • Financial related problems

  • Major life events (i.e., graduating from school, starting a new job, wedding and retirement)

  • Health problems

  • Toxic and non-supportive environments in your personal or professional lives




Signs of Stress

Signs of stress can present in different ways. Some signs can be observed whilst others may be internal. Understanding how stress might affect you physically and emotionally and learning how you react to stress are important. This will allow you to seek appropriate support if needed. Some common changes that you may experience:


Physical Changes

  • More frequent headaches
  • Increased heart rate and/or chest tightness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Poor appetite
  • Muscle aches
  • Feeling tired often
  • Acne breakouts and other skin issues
  • Diarrhoea, constipation or digestive issues
  • Difficulty focusing and concentrating
  • Forgetfulness

Emotional Changes

  • Feelings of despair and sadness
  • Nervousness
  • Anger and more easily irritable
  • Pessimistic thoughts
  • Panic attacks

Behaviour Changes

  • More withdrawn in social activities
  • Unwillingness to go to work
  • Finding it difficult to keep up with day-to-day activities
  • Change in sleep patterns or trouble sleeping

Stress Management Strategies

It is possible to take steps to manage stress. The following are some ways that you might find helpful in managing a stressful situation or period of stress:


Modifying your thoughts and attitudes

  • Focus on things that are within your control
  • Accept that there are things beyond your control
  • Reminding yourself of the positives (i.e. good things) you have in life
  • Accepting your own limits by being kinder and more forgiving to yourself
  • Think about what you've accomplished, not what you didn't complete

Actions to take

  • Create a daily self-care routine that can be achieved within your schedule
  • Engage in exercise regularly to pump up your “feel-good” hormones
  • Engage in activities that help you to relax, such as meditation or yoga
  • Inject some humour in you life
  • Eat healthily and sleep regularly as physical health promotes mental health
  • Set short and realistic goals. Reward yourself after you achieve your goals
  • Prioritise and drop the non-essentials tasks
  • Expand the coping skills that you already use
  • Stay connected with loved ones

When to Seek Help?

If you find that stress is affecting your life, or feel that you that you are having little improvements in your mood after trying different methods, speak to a professional such as a doctor about what you are experiencing.




- Article c​ontributed by Psychology​, Allied Health Services -


Men Health; Women Health; Mental Health
8/2/2024

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