Stress Awareness Month

A little bit of stress isn't always a bad thing

A small amount of stress can help us wake up, be motivated, complete tasks, and deal with an emergency or problem. But if the demands and pressure exceed our own perceived ability to cope, we can experience negative stress.

Most of us will feel stressed at times and our bodies are designed to deal with episodes of stress followed by a recovery period when the body returns to its natural state without any lasting negative effects (for example heart rate and breathing slow down and our muscles relax). But if stress is intense or prolonged, without adequate recovery afterwards, it can negatively affect our physical health and mental wellbeing.

So, it is important to learn to recognise what situations we find stressful; what our signs are and what things help us to reduce stress and increase our resilience.

Common signs of stress

  • Emotional, feelings of agitation, anxiety, low confidence and self-esteem, indecision
  • Physical, headaches, muscle tension and pain, digestive problems, fatigue, recurrent minor illnesses and insomnia
  • Cognitive, concentration and memory problems, muddled thinking, racing thoughts
  • Behavioural, changes in eating and sleeping patterns

People differ in what they find stressful and their capacity to deal with stress. The amount of stress we feel can also be linked to what else is going on in our lives – and our capacity to deal with this; the importance we place on the situation; our beliefs about ourselves, and our resilience.

The Stress Bucket is a useful way of thinking about these factors, watch the video below to find out more.

Help and support for stress

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