What is stress?
Everybody, at some point, will feel stressed. It is a part of life and at times stress can help us to get things done, change things, act as a motivator. However, at times stress can make us feel as if we are overwhelmed, out of control, helpless. Although stress itself is not a mental illness, if it becomes overwhelming it can lead to the emergence of depression, anxiety or a range of other mental health problems. In addition, if you have mental health issues then that can lead to an increase in your stress levels. It is, therefore, important to think about how to manage our stress.
Feelings of stress are often picked up as physical responses in our bodies. This could be because when you feel that there is some kind of threat in your environment then your body will reaction with what is termed a ‘fight or flight’ response. The threat could be physical or emotional, but the body’s reaction will be the same – it will produce hormones (cortisol and adrenaline). These produce reactions in your body, increasing your heart rate and blood pressure and suppressing your immune system. If this goes on too long then you will find that you start to feel tired, get headaches, have problems with your stomach or even find that you get more colds and infections. Stress, therefore, can have a negative impact on your physical health as well as your mental health.
In terms of your mental health, stress can show itself in an inability to think clearly, difficulties in processing information, short temper, sadness, helplessness and a range of other difficulties. So, if you find yourself clenching your teeth, have difficulties sleeping, feel agitated and don’t know why then you could be under too much stress.
Who can help?
There are a range of strategies you can use to manage stress – Mind have a guide to managing stress that has a range of suggestions about things you could try. The link to this resource is on the right of this page. One of Mind’s clients has produced a blog about coping with stress – you can read it here.
It is possible that you feel the low level stress management techniques just won’t work for you and that stress is making you feel ill, physically or mentally. If this is the case then it might help for you to talk to a professional about it – this is where we can help.
We have a wide range of therapies that could help you deal with moderate or severe stress. Explore our Therapies pages to help you think about which of our approaches to talking therapies might best suit you. Or you can book an assessment so that we can help you to find a therapy that would work for you.
The links provided on this page are intended to point you towards other websites and organisations who might be able to help you deal with stress. They offer a mixture of information, advice, self-help resources and sometimes contact details so that you can find someone to talk to. They are not exhaustive - there are many, many resources and organisations focused on stress on the internet that you could use. These are just some of them...