You might be affected by stress if you are going through:
- Major life changes.
- Problems at workplace or school.
- Difficulties in relationship or with children or family.
- You are being too busy.
- You constantly self-doubt and be pessimistic about life in general.
- You find it near impossible to accept uncertainty
Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat that outweigh the resources we have to cope with such demands, creating an imbalance.
Stress can have an effect on how we think, feel and act.
Sometimes stress is beneficial in motivating us to stay focused and approach and deal with challenges. However, it can also become harmful and distressing if experienced for a prolonged period of time.
Stress can creep up on your very easily. Unknowingly you get use to it. It starts to feel as if its normal way of life. That’s why it is important that you recognise and be aware of the common symptoms and signs of being under stress.
When we feel stressed, we are more often than not in fight-or-flight mode. You can be on constant alert. If this goes on for a prolonged period of time fatigue can set in and you can feel as though you are running on empty.
You can start feeling as though the pressure of everyday life is more than you can handle. Things that you coped with before can start feeling unmanageable.
Shaking and sweating
You can experience trembling hands or trembling all over – it is common to experience shaky legs in addition to increased sweating.
Feeling unwell more frequently
When we are in stress-mode, our bodies suppress non-essential functions such as our immune system meaning we are more vulnerable to illness.
Forgetting things more easily
You may feel you have a thousand things to do and you may not know where to start; or perhaps you are trying to tackle everything at once. When in this heightened state of arousal, it is easy to forget things and we can feel as if we are becoming more disorganised.
Stress can become more manageable, even though many people experiencing stress may not have access to, or receive, the treatment they need. There is no ONE treatment for stress, as everyone is different (and the causes and their experience of stress differs) but there are some treatments that have been proven clinically effective. We outline some below
There is a wealth of resources, both online and available through (for instance) your GP, which describe how you can manage stress and these have proven helpful for many. Included in these are understanding your stress, relaxation techniques, exercising and breathing exercises. This is not an exhaustive list, of course.
Talking therapies have proven effective in the treatment of stress. Engaging in psychological therapy gives you a space to understand potential triggers, what helps and what makes it harder to manage, and look at developing helpful ways to cope, amongst other things. There are different therapeutic approaches that have proven effective, for instance, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.
Some prescribed medication can help alleviate the symptoms of stress and reduce its impact on your day-to-day life. You should talk to your GP or psychiatrist about the options available for you, the benefits and the potential side-effects of any medication. Medication can be prescribed as a stand-alone treatment or in combination with, for instance, talking therapies.