Stress: Causes, symptoms, and relief

Stress: Causes, symptoms, and relief

It’s unfortunate, but many of us experience stress every day. Not just that, but a lot of the time we don’t know how to relieve it, and in many cases, we can misconstrue the symptoms as meaning something unrelated to stress. 
This is why we turned to the UK Mental Health Foundation (MHF) for guidance. They have based their research on dozens of scientific articles that indicate what stress is, what the causes are, how we can identify the signs that we’re experiencing it, what to do when we feel stressed, and also how to prevent stress. We hope you’ll find it as helpful as we have!
What is stress?
Stress is what we feel when we’re under an abnormal amount of pressure.  This can be caused from different parts of your daily life. For example, it could be from an increased workload, a period of transition, arguments with loved ones, financial worries, upheavals of different sorts, or even from a series of minor irritations. During situations such as these, you may find that it makes you feel threatened or upset, as a result of which your body might create a stress response leading to physical and behavioural symptoms.
What can I do to prevent stress?

1. Eat healthily

2. Try not to, or reduce, the amount you smoke and drink alcohol

3. Exercise

4. Take time to relax

5. Practise mindfulness regularly

6. Get restful sleep

7. Keep things in perspective (don’t be too hard on yourself)

How do I identify signs of stress?
Stress affects everyone differently, but there are a few common symptoms and signs that you can look out for:
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Constantly feeling worried or anxious
  • Finding it difficult to concentrate
  • Having changes in your mood (or having mood swings)
  • Being irritable or having a short temper
  • Feeling depressed
  • Struggling to relax
  • Having low self-esteem
  • Eating less or more than usual
  • Experiencing a change in sleeping habits
  • Finding yourself reaching for tobacco, alcohol or other substances to help you relax
  • Having tense muscles or aches and pains
  • Experiencing constipation or diarrhoea
  • Feeling dizzy or nauseous
What can I do when I feel stressed?
There is a plethora of different exercises and activities that can be discussed with a healthcare provider depending on your particular circumstances, but the MHF advises to start with those below.
1. Realize when it is becoming a problem for you
  • Try to identify the difference between feeling ill and feeling tired and the pressure that you’re experiencing
  • Observe physical warning signs (such as muscle tension, being overly tired, experiencing migraines or headaches)
2. Identify one/more potential causes
  • Try to identify the cause of your stress
  • Categorize the potential reasons for your stress into 3 categories: 1) Those with a solution that is practical, 2) those that might get better with time, and 3) those you cannot do anything to change
3. Ask yourself a few questions about your lifestyle
  • Is it possible that you’re taking on too much?
  • Do you have tasks/responsibilities that someone else could do for you?
  • Is there a chance that you could do things in a more leisurely way?
In order to act on the answers to these questions, you might need to set priorities regarding what you’re trying to achieved and re-organize your activities so that you can release pressure from trying to do too much at once.
Due to the fact that each person has differences in terms of their physiology, lifestyle, and potential causes of stressful situations, what works for one person may not necessarily work for another. Fortunately, there are a variety of solutions that are available to trial so that you can find out which is the best route for yourself. 
If you’d like to get in touch with us, please do not hesitate to take a look at our contact page to decide which form of communication suits you best.