How to recognise stress

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How to recognise stress

Stress is an unfortunate part of most people’s lives. But when your health is under threat from a life-changing condition, it can be hard to keep it under control.

What actually is stress? 

First things first: stress isn’t always bad. Our bodies naturally create a stress response to any sort of demand or challenge, whether it’s the excitement of getting ready for a party or the worry of waiting for medical results.

This stress response (the ‘fight or flight’ mode) is actually a physical reaction caused by a mix of hormones and chemicals being released into your bloodstream. These hormones give people a rush of energy that enables them to get things done. Essentially, it’s what gets us out of bed in the morning and helps us function with our daily routines.

The problem comes when the fight or flight mode is triggered too often. Stress causes blood flow to be diverted to the muscles – in case we need to ‘flee’ – which reduces brain function and slows down or stops other bodily functions like digestion.

What are the signs of stress?

Stress has numerous symptoms, many of which may either exacerbate or be confused for separate medical issues:

  • Muscle tension
  • Digestive issues
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Palpitations or chest pains
  • A need to go to the toilet frequently
  • Hyperventilation
  • Appetite changes
  • Joint pain
  • Itchy skin
  • A change in energy (either too much or too little)
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Weakened immune system
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Despair/helplessness
  • Inability to relax
  • Gloomy or pessimistic
  • Feeling angry or irritable
  • Overly emotional
  • Feeling under pressure
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Loss of interest in things
  • Forgetfulness
  • Feeling mentally drained

How can I become less stressed?

We all deal with stress in different ways and with varying degrees of success. Often, we are not even aware we are becoming stressed until our negative thoughts and emotions build into something more substantial, such as a panic attack, phobic response, migraine or insomnia.

The best way to reduce stress is to strive for a balanced lifestyle that keeps us healthy and productive on all levels. It also helps if we are aware of our own stress response so we can identify it earlier and take steps to defuse our body’s reaction.

Here are a few tips from the Stress Management Society:

  • Prioritise your health
  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Practice deep breathing
  • Stay hydrated
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet
  • Keep active
  • Adopt a positive mindset
  • Organise your time well
  • Learn to say no

 

 

By | 2017-10-30T16:03:12+00:00 October 30th, 2017|Categories: Articles|0 Comments