What is Stress?
Life can be stressful, that is a fact. We all face different challenges and obstacles in our lives, and sometimes the pressure is hard to handle. When we feel overwhelmed, under the gun, or unsure of how to meet the demands placed on us, we experience stress.
In small dozes stress can be a good thing. It can give us the push we need, motivating us to do our best, to stay focused and alert. Stress is what keeps us on our toes during a presentation at work or drives us to study for your midterm when we’d rather be watching TV. But when the going gets too tough and life’s demands exceed our ability to cope, stress becomes a threat to both our physical and emotional well being.
Too much stress can result in anxiety, depression, self harm and even Suicide. In these difficult economic times filled with austerity measures and fear for our jobs work related stress is on the increase.
Stress is a p psychological cal and physiological (emotional and physical) response to events that upset our personal balance in some way. These events or demands are known as ‘stressors’. We usually think of them as being negative, things such as an exhausting work schedule or a difficult personal relationship. However, change in our lives can be a Stressor.
These changes may even be positive events such as getting married, having a baby, moving home, leaving home or receiving a promotion. Whether the event is actually a good or bad, if the changes they bring strain our coping skills and adaptive resources, the end result may be a subjective feeling of stress and our body may show the signs of a biological stress response.
What causes Stress and its symptoms?
The potential causes of stress are numerous. Your stress may be linked to outside factors such as the state of the world, the environment in which you live or work, or your family. Your stress can also come from your own irresponsible behaviour, negative attitudes and feelings, or unrealistic expectations. Furthermore, the causes of Stress are highly individual. What you consider stressful depends on many factors, including your personality, general outlook on life, problem-solving abilities, and social support system. Something that’s Stressful to you may be neutral or even enjoyable to someone else. For example, your morning commute may make you anxious and tense because you worry that traffic will make you late. Others, however, may find the trip relaxing because they allow more than enough time and enjoy playing music or listening to books while they drive.
Stress factors can be divided into three broad categories:
- Frustrations are obstacles that prevent you from meeting your needs or achieving personal goals. They can be external such as discrimination, an unsatisfying job, divorce, or the death of a loved one or internal. Examples of internal frustrations include physical handicaps, the lack of a desired ability or trait, and other real or perceived personal limitations.
- Conflicts Stressors involving two or more incompatible needs or goals are known as conflicts. For example, a working mother might feel torn over a job offer that would advance her career, but take time away from her family. Sometimes the conflict involves a choice between two desirable options, such as deciding between two acceptance offers from equally appealing colleges. At other times, the decision involves disagreeable alternatives.
- Pressures Stress can stem from the expectations of others or the demands you place on yourself. You may feel pressure to get good grades in order to please your parents or get into a good school. Or you may feel pressure to excel at work, make a difference in your community, or be the perfect mother or parent.
Whether or not the source of stress causes significant emotional and physical symptoms depends in part on the nature of the pressure itself. Stressors that involve central aspects of your life or that persist for extended periods of time are more likely to result in severe distress and disruption of functioning. Furthermore, the more stressful situations or life changes you’re dealing with at one time, the more intense the symptoms of stress become.
Intellectual symptoms of stress and how stress can affect your mind
- Memory problems.
- Difficulty making decisions.
- Inability to concentrate.
- Seeing only the negative.
- Repetitive or racing thoughts.
- Poor judgment.
- Loss of objectivity.
- Desire to escape or run away.
Emotional symptoms how stress can make you feel:
- Moody and hypersensitive.
- Restlessness and anxiety.
- Anger and resentment.
- Easily irritated and “on edge”.
- Sense of being overwhelmed.
- Lack of confidence.
- Urge to laugh or cry at inappropriate times.
Physical symptoms how stress can affect your body
- Digestive problems
- Muscle tension and pain
- Sleep disturbances
- Chest pain, irregular heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Weight gain or loss
- Asthma or shortness of breath
- Skin problems
- Decreased sex drive
How stress may affect your behaviour
- Eating more or less
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Isolating yourself from others
- Neglecting your responsibilities
- Increasing alcohol and drug use
- Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)
- Teeth grinding or jaw clenching
- Overdoing activities such as exercising or shopping
- Losing your temper
- Overreacting to unexpected problems
Keep in mind that the signs and symptoms of stress can be caused by other psychological or physical problems, so it’s important that you consult a doctor to evaluate physical symptoms. Similarly, emotional symptoms such as anxiety or depression can mask conditions other than stress. It’s important to find out whether or not they are stress-related.
How can we eliminate Stress from our Lives?
As we have seen, we all thrive under a certain amount of stress. deadlines, competitions, confrontations, and even our frustrations and sorrows add depth and enrichment to our lives. Our goal should not be to eliminate stress from our lives, but to learn how to manage it and how to use it to work for us. By addressing the underlying causes of stress a healthier mind and body can make us feel much, much better. Working with a therapist, counselor or a life coach online offers an effective, affordable and accessible way to learn how to make stress a thing of the past. It will be the best investment in yourself that you could ever make. Stress counseling works.
Talk to a professional online counsellor/therapist or life coach in complete confidence about your lifestyle and explore ways to improve your well being. You can do it from home or work, so no need to take time out from your busy schedule travelling, online therapy is easily accessible.
Professional and experienced Online Counsellor (Therapist) and Online Life Coach Paul Parkin’s Stress Counselling experience.
I am an experienced, professional online counsellor, with over 15 years experience working as a counsellor (therapist) and life coach offering confidential, affordable counselling online to clients anywhere in the world.
By living a simple life and working from home I have reduced my costs enabling me to reduce the session fees for clients, making counselling online more accessible to people seeking counselling online.
I have helped clients to learn to recognize stress characteristics and triggers. I have worked with many individuals and many business people and families to help them to reduce the stress in their lives. This is very important to good health as stress is also known as the silent killer. If you are stressed then Now is the time to deal with it! Stress counselling and therapy works and it works fast!
I offer the busy professional an accessible medium to explore the issues behind stress and offer lasting techniques in order to redress a healthy balance.
I was recently sent home from work after suffering from chest pains, I am under a lot of stress at work and think this chest pain is as a result of the stress, what should I do to reduce my levels of stress?
Can I book a session with Paul to look at why I am getting stressed? Thanks
First of all go to see your GP and get the chest pain checked out medically. Do this as a matter of urgency and as a precaution please.
Also have a look at my information on stress for some useful tips on reducing stress.
If after that you would like to talk to me about the underlying contributory factors, drop me an email and we can arrange a session (you contacted me via an anonymous link, which means I cannot contact you). I look forward to receiving your message.
Take care and good luck Abb.
Best wishes Paul, online counsellor (therapist) and online life coach.