Understanding stress and stressful environments, and some self-help tips and advice in helping you reduce the amount of stress you are experiencing.
WHAT IS STRESS?
Stress is being in a situation that triggers a particular reaction, and when you perceive a threat or a major challenge, stress triggers your fight, flight or freeze response. Stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing in itself though, and it does sometimes helps you survive, but too much constant stress can have severe long-term negative effects on your health, and prolonged stress can be mentally and physically harmful. There are several types of stress, including:
Acute stress happens to everyone; it’s the body’s immediate reaction to a new and challenging situation. Acute stress is the kind of stress you might feel when you ride a roller-coaster or parachute from an aeroplane. These incidents of acute stress don’t normally do you any harm, and might even be good for you and can give your body and brain practice in developing the best response to future stressful situations. However, severe acute stress – for example the kind of stress you have when facing a life-threatening or violemt situations - is completely different and can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental health problems.
Episodic acute stress
Episodic acute stress is when you have frequent episodes of acute stress. This often happens when you're anxious and worried about things that might (or might not) happen, or go from one crisis to the next. Certain professions, such as security and law enforcement might also lead to frequent high-stress situations. As with severe acute stress, episodic acute stress can affect your physical health and mental well-being.
Chronic stress is when you have high-stress levels for an extended period of time. This could be in the workplace where unreasonable demands or heavy workloads are placed upon you, or in an unhappy, difficult relation. Long-term stress can have a severe and profound negative impact on your health and can contribute to:
Causes of stress
Some typical causes of acute or chronic stress include:
Symptoms of stress
Symptoms of stress vary from person to person but can include:
HELPING TO REDUCE STRESS YOURSELF
Firstly, try to realise what is causing you to feel stressed and then put them into three main categories; a) those with an immediate practical solution b) those that will take longer to get better and c) those you can’t do anything about. Once you have identified and categorised what is causing you stress you can then work at changing your lifestyle accordingly in order to lower your stress level for example: prioritising, eliminating, handing things over to other people, changing your mindset and beliefs about things.
Other things that help reduce stress are: