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What is Stress?

This is when we feel of being under too much mental or emotional pressure. Pressure turns into stress when you feel unable to cope.

We all have experienced Stress at some point of our life. Stress, in everyday terms, is a feeling that people have when they are overloaded and struggling to cope with demands.

These demands can be related money, work, relationships and other situations.

Signs of stress

The physical effects of prolonged stress are numerous, to mention a few which include a greater susceptibility to illness, lack of energy, problem with sleep, headaches, poor judgement, weight gain, depression, anxiety, erectile dysfunction, loss of libido, muscle aches, stomach upset, muscle cramps, pain in back and chest.

Causes of stress

There may be things in your life that you can't control, but there are things you can do to manage day-to-day feelings of stress.

Stress is not an illness itself, but it can cause serious illness if it isn't addressed.
Feelings of stress are normally triggered by things happening in your life which involve:
• being under lots of pressure
• facing big changes
• worrying about something
• not having much or any control over the outcome of a situation
• having responsibilities that you're finding overwhelming
• not having enough work, activities or change in your life
• times of uncertainty.

Dealing with stress?

The following are six proven ways to reduce stress or recover more quickly:

1. Slow Things Down.
2. Exercise.
3. Get in the Green.
4. Smile.
5. Stand Upright.
6. Try to See Your Stress as a Challenge.

Look after your physical health
Sleep is important in managing stress. If you don’t get enough sleep, negative feelings are likely to be exaggerated and you might find you are more irritable and less confident.

Physical activity can help reduce depression and anxiety and boost your self-confidence.
Eating healthily has a positive impact on your physical and mental health.
Give yourself a break, Forgive yourself when you make a mistake, or don't achieve something you hoped for. Try to remember that nobody's perfect, and putting extra pressure on yourself doesn't help.

Build your support network

Remember that whatever you're going through that's causing you stress, you don't have to cope with it alone.
Talk to friends and family.
Sometimes just telling the people close to you how you're feeling can make a big difference – and they might be able to help you out in other ways too.

Support at work, university, college.

Specialist websites and organisations

The Mind Tools website can help you with stress management and assertiveness techniques.
The Be Mindful website provides guidance on mindfulness, including how to find a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) course.
The International Stress Management Association can help you find a specialist stress practitioner in your local area.

Your GP, If you feel like you need some professional support, you can speak to your doctor.