Iden­tify what causes your stress

Havelock North Village Press - - Home Living -

Stress is the feel­ing of be­ing un­der too much men­tal or emo­tional pres­sure.

Pres­sure turns into stress when you feel un­able to cope. Peo­ple have dif­fer­ent ways of re­act­ing to stress, so a sit­u­a­tion that feels stress­ful to one per­son may be mo­ti­vat­ing to some­one else. Many of life’s de­mands can cause stress, par­tic­u­larly work, re­la­tion­ships and money prob­lems. When you feel stressed, it can get in the way of sort­ing out these de­mands, or can af­fect ev­ery­thing you do.

Stress can af­fect how you feel, think, be­have and how your body works. In fact, com­mon signs of stress in­clude sleep­ing prob­lems, sweat­ing, loss of ap­petite and dif­fi­culty con­cen­trat­ing. You may feel anx­ious, ir­ri­ta­ble or low in self­es­teem, and you may have rac­ing thoughts, worry con­stantly or go over things in your head. You may no­tice that you lose your tem­per more eas­ily, drink more or act un­rea­son­ably. You may also ex­pe­ri­ence headaches, mus­cle ten­sion or pain, or dizzi­ness.

Stress causes a surge of hor­mones in your body. These stress hor­mones are re­leased to en­able you to deal with pres­sures or threats — the so­called “fight or flight” re­sponse.

Once the pres­sure or threat has passed, your stress hor­mone lev­els will usu­ally re­turn to nor­mal. How­ever, if you’re con­stantly un­der stress, these hor­mones will re­main in your body, lead­ing to the symp­toms of stress.

Recog­nis­ing your stress trig­gers.

If you’re not sure what’s caus­ing your stress, keep a diary and make a note of stress­ful episodes for two to four weeks. Then re­view it to spot the trig­gers.

You can use the diary to:

■ work out what trig­gers your stress.

■ work out how you be­have un­der pres­sure.

■ de­velop bet­ter cop­ing mech­a­nisms.

Doc­tors some­times rec­om­mend keep­ing a stress diary to help them di­ag­nose stress. See your doc­tor if you have con­cerns or feel you can’t cope.

If you’re not sure what’s caus­ing your stress, keep a diary and make a note of stress­ful episodes.

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