Stress is a normal part of life and something that we all experience from time to time. However, when stress becomes so severe or ongoing that it impacts our psychological wellbeing and quality life, it is time to do something about it.
There can be a number of tell-tale signs of stress and these can include but aren’t limited to:
- Irritability or moodiness
- Disrupted sleep
- Worrying or feeling anxious
- Back and neck pain
- Upset stomach
- Increased blood pressure
- Rashes or skin breakouts
- More susceptibility to common colds/flu
- Difficulty focusing and concentrating
Stress can be like a pot boiling on the stove with the lid on. We can only take so much build-up of steam before it needs to be released. Psychologists often assist people to find and implement strategies for managing stress more effectively. Here are some general tips that some people have found useful in letting off steam and reducing the build-up of stress:
- Get to know your stress triggers: it can help to get a sense of exactly what it is that is fueling the fire. If we can identify stress-triggers accurately, we might be able to make even slight changes in these areas to reduce stress levels.
- Form healthy habits: regular exercise, healthy eating habits and good sleep patterns can assist with our ability to cope with daily stressors. It is easy to get caught in a vicious cycle where stress makes healthy habits very challenging, and this in turn makes stress worse! Seeking support in addressing this cycle can be very important.
- Take time out: working towards a more balanced lifestyle in which we prioritise down-time can be an important part of managing stress. Sometimes we may need to work through concerns or anxieties that might be holding us back from taking time out from our demanding schedules.
- Learn problem-solving techniques: some people find it useful to learn new ways of brainstorming possible solutions, choosing the best one, and following through with putting it into action. This is something that we can learn to do effectively.
- Learn to set boundaries in relationships: sometimes we can become over-stressed because it is hard for us to say “no” to others or to manage difficult relationship situations. Learning assertiveness skills and effective communication can assist with these challenges.
- Think about your thinking: it can be useful to consider the role that negative thinking or worrying might be playing in our stress levels. Our thoughts are very powerful and can have a large impact on the way that we feel.
If you are struggling with stress, please make an appointment to speak with your doctor about treatment options, or contact us for further information and support.