Identify what causes your stress
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.