What is Stress?

Different people experience stress in different ways.  Generally speaking, stress is a state of heightened anxiety, tension and worry usually in the context of life circumstances. People get stressed due to work commitments and deadlines, relationship difficulties, family problems, child care, illness and financial difficulties.  Stress is a normal response to the challenges and obstacles we face in life, however, being subjected to prolonged and persistent stress is detrimental to our physical, psychological and emotional well-being. 

What can significant stress lead to?

Significant stress has been linked to physical, psychological and emotional difficulties.  Heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes, migraines and auto immune conditions are some of the physical consequences of stress.  People who are persistently stressed have a higher risk of developing anxiety, panic attacks, depression and addiction disorders.  Stress could also lead to a relapse in those with a history of mental health difficulties.

What is the treatment for Stress?

The most effective approach is to prevent stress from becoming too overwhelming in the first instance.  If you find yourself becoming stressed, try and identify the source of your stress and either take a step back or try to address the stressful situation.  Counselling and psychotherapy can assist you in dealing with the issues in your life causing you stress.  Useful coping strategies and a more effective approach in dealing with issues can help reduce stress levels significantly.  Take regular breaks from work, spend time doing the things that give you pleasure, relaxation exercises and meditation are some useful habits.

How common is stress?

Everybody gets stressed, however some people are better at handling stressful situations than others.  It is important that stress does not progress to a more severe mental health condition such as anxiety, panic disorder and depression and as such we need to be aware and mindful of the dangers of prolonged and persistent stress levels.  Factors such as personality style, level of family and social support, supportive work environment and the ability to manage stress effectively could determine the outcome.

What can I do to prevent myself from getting overstressed?

There are useful stress management tips than can be helpful. Some of these include:

  • Adopt or maintain a healthy work-life balance
  • Adequate exercise and a healthy diet
  • Having a sense of purpose in life, engaging in endeavours that provide a sense of fulfilment and meaning
  • Set aside time for relaxation and meditation
  • Getting enough sleep and adequate hydration
  • Spending adequate time with loved ones, friends and supportive family members
Click here to view therapists that specialise in stress related conditions