Stress is most normally due to an external factor.
We have all felt ‘stressed’ at times, even ‘super stressed’ when for example it reaches house moving day or starting a new job / business, school or college. Or if there are financial problems, work concerns, or a breakdown in relationships, at home or at work.
We generally do get through it though, because there is an end to it, and once the ‘pressure’ is off, you can sigh with relief and the state of feeling stressed will dissipate. It can be frustrating if things don’t go exactly as planned, but we do generally cope, once the cause has been dealt with effectively, the stress then lessens and normally goes all together
In certain situations a certain amount of stress and anxiety is expected and can drive us forward, like when taking an exam, doing a public speech, acting, performing in a competition whether sports, or music etc…
In a work situation feeling pressured into accomplishing a job by a certain time, can focus your attention to complete the task, likewise with a written assignment or project, and motivate you to do your best.
We all deal with stress differently and usually manage to alleviate it effectively and positively
Stress is a normal part of life and is usually mixed in with a healthy dose of adrenaline, to sharpen our responses, (not quite to the same level of heightened anxiety which occurs in a threatening or dangerous situation – the ‘fight fright flight’ response, which ultimately can save our life). Though there can be similar symptoms due to the adrenal glands releasing adrenaline, like a more rapid heart beat and sweating, but stress tends to not to include feelings of impending doom like anxiety, it is rather feelings of being pressured or frustrated, or ‘up against it’.
However, a stressed state can not be sustained day in and day out, it stops being helpful to you if prolonged, and becomes known as Chronic Stress.
When stress takes over, and you start to feel overwhelmed and constantly time pressured. Having unrealistic demands and goals to reach, in unreasonable time frames, set by yourself or others, and cease to find enjoyment in what you do.
It can take its toll on you mentally and physically, leading to feelings like:-
- total overwhelm and panic
- Wanting to run away or hide – avoidance of the problems
- Things just not getting done as you lose your focus, flitting from one thing to the next without completing a task
- Having things constantly buzzing around your mind – not being able to ‘switch off’
- Your find yourself fidgeting, feeling ‘hyper’ and agitated
- Possibly feeling angry, having a lowered tolerance and impatience, snapping at people, or breaking things
- Losing sense of time and reasoning – with the feeling of being ‘out of control’
- Memory problems and poor decision making ability
- Emotional outbursts and over-reacting or crying
- Sometimes you can feel like you are ‘losing your mind’ or ‘losing the plot’
- Lowered or non-existent sex drive
- Worry that you are letting people down
- Feelings of low self worth
- Loss of confidence
- Poor sleep – leading to tiredness and utter exhaustion,
- Tension in your muscles, leading to aches and pains
- Headaches and migraine,
- Your digestion can be affected causing heartburn and indigestion, and possibly diarrhoea.
- Loss of appetite, or over eating, maybe reaching for coffee and energy drinks as a quick fix, and alcohol to ‘relieve the stress’
- Skin can also be affected with rashes and spots
- Your heart rate and blood pressure can be elevated constantly
If stress is not addressed over a long period, it can also contribute to:
- depression or a ’breakdown’
- it is linked to heart attacks,
- lowering of the immune system, leading to illness or worsening of current conditions,
- and of course can affect relationships both personally and professionally, leading to a cycle of more stress
While you are suffering with chronic stress, it can sometimes feel like there is no way out of it. However there is a lot you can do to help relieve and manage stress, and develop coping mechanisms to take forward with you, and to build resilience for the future.
Relief and management of stress
Find a friend, a work colleague, a family member, your GP or an organisation to support you, or seeing someone like myself a ConfidenceCoach and Hypnotherapist – you really do not need to cope alone. There is so much support out there.
Find what works for you – there is so much you can do
I have 30 tips and ideas to help you, too many to put on one blog. 30 tips to help deal with stress.
Joining support groups locally or on-line can help a lot, 2 are listed but there are so many more
There is also an organisation called Mental Health Matters who have a 24hour helpline for each area – do look on-line for the number
There are also plenty of mindfulness and meditation apps to use – a lot are free to try.
**Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is more complex and as a result of experiencing severely traumatic events.
This can lead to many of the symptoms mentioned for stress and anxiety and ‘reliving’ the experience time and time again, with all the emotions experienced at the time of the event. There are usually triggers for the sufferer, causing heightened anxiety levels that dramatically affect daily living.
This is a condition that requires specialist support and help, though some of the things mentioned for stress relief and management will be of great help.
What does it really mean to ‘Look after yourself’ and ‘be your own best friend’?
Most of us are great at listening to others and giving advice, being supportive, and being there. This is great so long as you also afford yourself the same care and attention. Think to yourself in situations that may be difficult or overwhelming ‘what would I say to my best friend’ – we tend to be kinder to others, and give solutions with practical advice. It is not always easy, so seek the counsel of someone who you trust, or a supportive organisation. You do not have to do things alone.
You can sometimes take too much on board for other people, whether personally or at work, so that there is no time for YOU, or take on other’s concerns and problems, so that you avoid dealing with your own. This of course can not be sustained and things can unravel around you in many ways, or the very people you are trying to help expect more from you or blame you if things do not go how they want – sound familiar?
It really is OK to help others, so long as you set some parameters and don’t allow the other person to take advantage of you, or not accept responsibility for their own problem or concern and the outcome.