Don't let stress make a mess
When we talk about being stressed, it usually means we're tense about something that's happening in our lives.
Stress is a normal part of daily life. It's a natural physical and mental response that is designed to help you cope effectively with emergencies.
Some stress can be a good thing. It can help us get motivated to get things done.
Stress makes your body produce chemicals that raise your heart rate and blood pressure and increase mental focus. This helps you to perform well in a challenging situation over a short period of time.
What to watch for
|Feeling sick in the stomach
Having constipation or diarrhoea
Having stomach aches and/or headaches
Having problems sleeping
Feeling constantly tired
Sweating a lot
Having cramps or twitches
Feeling dizzy or fainting
Eating too much or too little
Using drugs or smoking.
|Feeling angry or irritable
Being moody and easily frustrated
Feeling like crying regularly
Having low self esteem or lacking confidence
Feeling restless all the time
Having trouble concentrating.
There are lots of different causes for stress. Things that affect one person may not be a problem for someone else. The important thing is to work out what's troubling you.
Generally, stress comes from feeling overburdened across a range of things in life:
- Relationship and family issues
- Conflict in the workplace
- Not having enough time, particularly if you have a long transit to work
Illness of self/others, or death of loved ones
- Feeling like things are out of control
The problems from stress happen when stress is regular and doesn't let up. The chemicals the body releases can build up and cause changes that damage your physical and mental health.
Stress is not the same as anxiety or depression - but for some people, being stressed for a long time can end up leading to anxiety and/or depression, plus impact your physical health, particularly your cardiovascular health.
What can I do?
All of our Man Therapies sections provide tips to help you to reduce and deal with stress in your life, but here are some of the key ones:
Sort out relationship problems
Stress in relationships - whether this is with a partner, friends, your teachers, your parents or other important people in your life - is a major cause of mental health issues. You might want to talk to a counsellor or someone who can help you to work things out.
Take time out
Don't spend too much time worrying about things that are stressing you out. Take some time to do something distracting or something you enjoy, such as going out with friends, going to the gym or a yoga class, listening to music, playing sport or watching a movie.
Keep things balanced
Try to make sure you have a balance in your day between work and doing the things that you enjoy. This might mean learning to say 'no' more often so that you don't take on new things that will add to your to-do list, or your stress levels.
Organise your time so your homework and assignments are not left to the last minute and avoid studying until late at night.
Physical activity such as swimming, walking, yoga, cycling, dancing or going to the gym can help reduce the tension in your muscles and your mind. Try to do some exercise every day, even if it's just walking around the block.
Exercises that slow your breathing and relax your muscles can help with stress. Slow breathing (three seconds in, three seconds out) for five minutes can be a useful short-term coping strategy for when you're feeling stressed. Relaxing your muscles might help with aches and pains, fatigue, headaches and difficulty breathing. Try sitting in a comfortable and quiet room, then tense each group of muscles for 10 seconds and relax them for 10 seconds.
Don't wait for stress to get so bad that you start feeling depressed or helpless. Try to work out what is troubling you and then talk to someone who can help, be it family or friends, or a health professional.