Research has shown that two thirds of us experience a mental health problem in our lifetimes, and stress is a key factor in this.
By tackling stress, we can go a long way to tackle mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, and, in some instances, self-harm and suicide. We will look at how we can tackle stress and help improve our mental health.
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Stress is a feeling of being under abnormal pressure. This pressure can come from different aspects of your day to day life. Such as an increased workload, a transitional period, an argument you have with your family or new and existing financial worries. You may find that it has a cumulative effect, with each stressor building on top of one another.
During these situations you may feel threatened or upset and your body might create a stress response. This can cause a variety of physical symptoms, change the way you behave, and lead you to experience more intense emotions. How can I identify the signs of stress?
Everyone experiences stress. However, when it is affecting your life, health and wellbeing, it is important to tackle it as soon as possible, and while stress affects everyone differently, there are common signs and symptoms you can look out for:15
feelings of constant worry or anxiety
feelings of being overwhelmed
difficulty concentrating
mood swings or changes in your mood
irritability or having a short temper
difficulty relaxing
low self-esteem
eating more or less than usual
changes in your sleeping habits
using alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs to relax
aches and pains, particularly muscle tension
diarrhoea and constipation
feelings of nausea or dizziness
loss of sex drive.
If you are experiencing these symptoms for a prolonged period, and feel they are affecting your everyday life or are making you feel unwell, you should speak to your GP. You can ask for information about the support services and treatments available to you.