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Stress Management

How Stress Works

What is Stress?

There is no universally accepted definition of stress, but almost everybody can say that they’ve felt stress at some point. Stress might be thought of as the sense that the demands that we have placed on us (by ourselves or others) are greater than we can currently cope with.
Stressed man with hands in head sitting at desk with paperwork in front of him
Woman stressed, in bed sitting up with a note in her hand and other hand on her forehead

What Does Stress Look Like?

Stress can take many forms, and is often accumulated over time. It can come (individually or in combination) from work demands, problems in relationships, mood difficulties (e.g., anxiety or depression), physical illness, life changes, and simple day-to-day tasks that can lead to frustration or a sense of overwhelm. It can affect our bodies, our thoughts and the way we behave.

Stress can lead to us feeling overwhelmed, leading to negative thoughts about our ability to cope, and about the source of the stressors that we’re experiencing. This can lead to greater stress and difficulties in those areas of our lives.

Stress can lead to changes in our body, including many that are similar to anxiety, such as muscle tension, shortness of breath and increased breathing rate, increased heart rate, the release of stress-related chemicals in the body which can result in inflammation in arteries and lead to physical complications such as heart disease and/or heart attack. Stress can negatively impact our immune system, making us more likely to become sick, and it can cause stomach and bowel upsets.

Stress can make us act in response to frustration, irritation, or anxiety, that may increase problems in our lives and so, increase the stressors we are exposed to.

What Does Stress Look Like?

Stress can take many forms, and is often accumulated over time. It can come (individually or in combination) from work demands, problems in relationships, mood difficulties (e.g., anxiety or depression), physical illness, life changes, and simple day-to-day tasks that can lead to frustration or a sense of overwhelm. It can affect our bodies, our thoughts and the way we behave.

Stress can lead to us feeling overwhelmed, leading to negative thoughts about our ability to cope, and about the source of the stressors that we’re experiencing. This can lead to greater stress and difficulties in those areas of our lives.

Stress can lead to changes in our body, including many that are similar to anxiety, such as muscle tension, shortness of breath and increased breathing rate, increased heart rate, the release of stress-related chemicals in the body which can result in inflammation in arteries and lead to physical complications such as heart disease and/or heart attack. Stress can negatively impact our immune system, making us more likely to become sick, and it can cause stomach and bowel upsets.

Stress can make us act in response to frustration, irritation, or anxiety, that may increase problems in our lives and so, increase the stressors we are exposed to.

Woman stressed, in bed sitting up with a note in her hand and other hand on her forehead

Do I need to deal with stress, and what can be done about it?

Stress is a natural part of human life, and can be harnessed for positive results, however it can have many problematic outcomes. If you feel that stress is a significant part of your experience, see your GP to ensure that any physical complications are being appropriately treated and managed. Once your physical health is being managed, psychological therapy can help you make changes to your life, world-view, and behaviours that can help reduce stress and the risk of negative outcomes.

Is Stress Causing Problems for You?

Schedule an appointment to discuss ways to improve your stress.