Stress is often defined as the way you feel when you are under a great deal of pressure. This can be work pressure, pressure within the family, money problems, or relationship stress, or it can be a cumulation of more than one of these things.
Stress is normal, and is the body’s reaction to a situation, especially one that requires a physical, mental or emotional responses. Stress is the natural response the body creates when it feels under attack, and can be known as ‘fight or flight mode’. It can be a positive thing, as it heightens reactions, boosts energy, and increases cognitive function. However, too much stress can cause negative effects.
What are the symptoms of stress?
On a physical level, stress can cause an adrenaline release which, as previously mentioned, can be useful in a fight or flight situation, but is not so much use in a work environment. The build up of unused adrenaline can cause headaches, nausea, indigestion, weight gain and various other negative effects, it can lead to heart attack and stroke in the long term, as the cardiovascular system is put under more pressure.
Alongside the physical effects, stress, or the causes of stress can have many emotional effects. These include anxiety, depression, frustration, anger and fear. These negative emotions only serve to exacerbate the stress, like a cycle. Stress can then cause you to behave differently, such as affecting your sleep patterns, leaving you more tired, it can cause indecisiveness and for you to become withdrawn or irritable, it can affect your sex drive, and even cause you to be aggressive when you wouldn’t usually be. One severe type of stress, known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), develops following a traumatic event.
How can stress be treated?
Stress can not always be treated, but there are a number of ways that you can try and manage it. If your stress is related to being overwhelmed by work, there are a number of techniques you can use to manage your time more effectively, giving you more time for the things that are important, the same applies for issues with prioritising your work.
Mindfulness is a technique of you can learn to be more aware of your own cues that you are beginning to feel over stressed, and what to do to alleviate the stress at that moment.
Identify the causes of stress, and work out ways of finding a solution to the source of the stress. Deep breathing when you are beginning to feel overwhelmed is a good way of helping to reduce your blood pressure. You can begin with a deep breath, and concentrate on slowing your breathing. If you begin to feel more relaxed, you can return to the task at hand. Taking a five minute time out can also help if you begin to feel angry in a situation.
If you are having trouble managing your stress, there are specialists who can better help you with stress, and the causes of stress. You can make an appointment here.