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Stress is simply a fact of nature with forces from the inside or outside world affecting the individual. The individual responds to stress in ways that affect the individual as well as their environment. Because of the overabundance of stress in our modern lives, we usually think of stress as a negative experience, but from a biological point of view, stress can be a neutral, negative, or positive experience.

In general, stress is related to both external and internal factors. External factors include the physical environment, including your job, your relationships with others, your home, and all the situations, challenges, difficulties, and expectations you’re confronted with on a daily basis. Internal factors determine your body’s ability to respond to, and deal with, the external stress-inducing factors. Internal factors which influence your ability to handle stress include your nutritional status, overall health and fitness levels, emotional well-being, and the amount of sleep and rest you get.

What are the Causes and Types of Stress?

  • Acute Stress: Stress can be brief and specific to the demands and pressures of a particular situation, and the symptoms can begin within minutes of the traumatic event and disappear within days, even hours
  • Episodic Acute Stress: Experiencing Acute Stress over and over again
  • Chronic Stress: This involves ongoing demands, pressures and worries that go on forever, with little hope of letting up, and can be very harmful to health

What are the Symptoms of Stress?

The experience of stress is highly individualised. What constitutes overwhelming stress for one person may not be perceived as stress by another. Likewise, the symptoms and signs of poorly managed stress will be different for each person and can manifest itself in a variety of emotional, behavioural, and even physical symptoms, and the symptoms of stress vary enormously among different individuals.

Symptoms can include:

  • An initial state of disorientation Reduced levels of consciousness
  • Agitation or overactivity Headaches, other aches and pains
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Changes in eating patterns
  • Anxiety symptoms Irritability and even anger
  • Depression Fatigue Feeling overwhelmed
  • Feeling as though everything is out of control
  • Bouts of tears
  • Loss of concentration and memory
  • Low self esteem
  • Withdrawal Amnesia
  • Increased use of alcohol and or drugs
  • Medical problems including high blood pressure, heart diseases, gastrointestinal disturbances

What Will Help?

  • Identify the warning signs
  • Identify the triggers
  • Establish the routines
  • Spend time with the people who care
  • Look after your health
  • Notice your self-talk
  • Practise relaxation

How is Stress Treated?

Learning how to handle stress in healthy ways is very important. If high levels of stress continue for a long period of time; or are interfering with a healthy life, then identifying the behaviours and situations that are contributing to high stress and then making some changes to the things within the individual’s control is important.

Further Help Needed?

At these times, you may wish to seek help from someone you trust such as a close friend or family member, or professionally through your local GP, or through counseling.  Applecross Psychological Services can assist you with this process.

Click link to download Brochure for Stress