What is stress?
A certain amount of stress is required for us to function normally but when stress levels are too high they can cause anxiety.
The anxiety and stress that come from the feeling that you are unable to cope, can affect you both physically and mentally.
This may manifest as:
- Lack of energy.
- Frequent headaches.
- Loss of appetite.
- Upset stomach, including diarrhoea, constipation and or nausea.
- Tense muscles causing aches and pains.
- Chest pain with rapid heartbeat.
- Restless sleep
- Frequent colds and infections.
- Loss of sexual desire and/or ability.
- Low self-esteem.
- High blood pressure.
Common causes of stress are relationships, financial matters and work.
If just one of these were a problem you may well be able to cope but often one of these issues is linked to another.
For example If you are having a hard time at work this could effect your relationship as you may be short tempered and without meaning to, take things out on your partner. This could cause friction and arguments that just serve to increase your stress level.
So, how do you manage stress from day to day?
In itself stress is not an illness but left to escalate it can cause serious health problems.
Try not to turn to alcohol or cigarette’s as this could just exacerbate your problems.
Although it is difficult to avoid stressful situations it is possible to stop its’ effects spiralling out of control. For example you can learn stress busting relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation.
Regular exercise routines that can be as simple as walking, dancing or for something more structured joining a local fitness group can help you unwind.
Should I see my doctor?
You should see your doctor if self-help techniques do not work. They may suggest other coping techniques for you to try or recommend some form of counselling or cognitive behaviourial therapy (CBT).
If stress is causing you serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, you may need to take medication or have further tests.