Recognising when you are stressed

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April 14, 2020

Michael Moran


Stress Awareness Month has been held every April, since 1992, and is aimed at increasing public awareness about both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic.

Stress is a significant factor in mental health problems including anxiety and depression. It is linked to physical health problems like heart disease, problems with our immune system, insomnia and digestive problems. Individually we need to understand what is causing us personal stress and learn what steps we can take to reduce it for ourselves and those around us.

We all experience stress differently in different situations. Sometimes you might be able to tell right away when you’re feeling under stress, but other times you might keep going without recognising the signs. Stress can affect you both emotionally and physically, and it can affect the way you behave.

Stress symptoms may include:

  • irritable, aggressive, impatient or wound up
  • over-burdened
  • anxious, nervous or afraid
  • as though your thoughts are racing and you can’t switch off
  • unable to enjoy yourself
  • depressed
  • uninterested in life
  • as though you’ve lost your sense of humour
  • a sense of dread
  • worried about your health
  • neglected or lonely.

Stress can cause many different symptoms. It might affect how you feel physically, mentally and also how you behave. It’s not always easy to recognise when stress is the reason you’re feeling or acting differently.

Coping with stress

Stress can also help you rise to meet challenges; it’s what keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work, aids concentration when you’re trying for the game-winning free throw, or motivates you to study for an exam when you’d rather be watching TV. Beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, mood, productivity, relationships, and your quality of life.

Some workplace stress is normal, excessive stress can affect your productivity and performance, impacting physical and emotional health, and affecting relationships and home life. It may determine the difference between success and failure at work but whatever your ambitions or work demands, you can take steps to protect yourself from the damaging effects of stress, improve your job satisfaction, and bolster your well-being in and out of the workplace.

Whatever event or situation causes you to feel stressed, there are ways of coping with the problem and regaining your balance.

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