Stress is our psychological, emotional and physical response to pressure. We feel there are too many demands, and too few resources to cope.
That pressure can arise from external factors including life events, illness (ourselves or someone close to us) living conditions, work, home and family, study, lack of some necessity, or the demands we place on ourselves.
Even those events which we see as enjoyable can be stressful, such as holidays, moving home, starting a better job, pregnancy, parenthood, Christmas etc.
- This is too much – I can’t cope!
- It’s not fair. Someone should be helping me.
- There is too much to do, and too little time
- I’ll never finish
- I have to get this done
- Irritable, bad tempered
- Depressed, hopeless
The physical response to stress is caused by the body’s adrenaline response – the body’s alarm signal and survival mechanism when faced with a threat.
- Heart racing, pounding
- Breathing faster
- Tense muscles – e.g. neck, shoulders, abdomen
- Hot, sweaty
- Difficulty concentrating
- Agitated, restless
- Bladder or bowel problems
- Unable to settle, constantly busy, rushing about
- Lots of things on the go, but don’t finish them
- Sleep disturbances
- Shouting, arguing
- Eating more (or less)
- Drinking more
- Using drugs
- Smoking more