An Overview

Stress is the body's reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses. Stress is an integral part of modern day living. One can experience stress from environment, bodily changes, and thoughts.

Types

Physical Stress

A common type of stress is physical stress, which refers to actual physical activities and events that wreak havoc on the human body. One good example is travel. Physical stress also includes stress brought on by sleeping too much, not getting enough sleep, spending too many hours on your feet or working long hours.

Emotional Stress

Out of all the different kinds of stress, emotional stress is the most common. This can occur after you go through an intense break up or divorce, lose a loved one, have a fight with your spouse or experience any other problem that causes you to feel depressed or anxious. You may experience weight changes, feelings of isolation and mood swings and can also feel overwhelmed at home or at work.

Traumatic Stress

When thinking about the types of stress, many people don’t think about traumatic stress. Traumatic stress is a type of stress that occurs because of some type of trauma to the human body and may lead to intense pain, coma or even death relates to. If you went through an operation, your body may experience stress until you recover from that surgery. A car accident, second or third degree burns or even a case of pneumonia may all cause traumatic stress.

Acute vs. Chronic Stress

Out of all the different kinds of stress, emotional stress is the most common. This can occur after you go through an intense break up or divorce, lose a loved one, have a fight with your spouse or experience any other problem that causes you to feel depressed or anxious. You may experience weight changes, feelings of isolation and mood swings and can also feel overwhelmed at home or at work.

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of stress overload

The most dangerous thing about stress is how easily it can creep up on you. You get used to it. It starts to feel familiar, even normal. You don’t notice how much it is

Cognitive symptoms:
  • Memory problems
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Poor judgment
  • Seeing only the negative
  • Anxious or racing thoughts
  • Constant worrying
Emotional symptoms:
  • Depression or general unhappiness
  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Moodiness, irritability, or anger
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Other mental or emotional health problems
Physical symptoms:
  • Aches and pains
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Nausea, dizziness
  • Chest pain, rapid heart rate
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Frequent colds or flu
Behavioral symptoms:
  • Eating more or less
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
  • Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax
  • Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)

Causes

The situations and pressures that cause stress are known as stressors. We usually think of stressors as being negative, such as an exhausting work schedule or a rocky relationship. Of course, not all stress is caused by external factors. Stress can also be internal or self-generated, when you worry excessively about something that may or may not happen, or have irrational, pessimistic thoughts about life.

Common external causes of stress include:

  • Major life changes
  • Work or school
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Financial problems
  • Being too busy
  • Children and family

Common internal causes of stress include:

  • Pessimism
  • Inability to accept uncertainty
  • Rigid thinking, lack of flexibility
  • Negative self-talk
  • Unrealistic expectations / perfectionism
  • All-or-nothing attitude

Treatment

There are many treatments for stress – from exercise, diet and lifestyle changes, counselling to the use of herbal remedies and other medicines

Helping yourself

Stress levels differ from person to person. It is therefore important to understand the reasons of feeling stressed and how these differences occur. . And if anyone is feeling depressed or suicidal professional help is advisable.

Exercise as a treatment for stress

The body is programmed to deal with stress through the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism. Exercise is a good way of using up the stress chemicals produced by the body. This in turn helps to decrease the stress symptoms associated with the release of these chemicals.

Relaxation techniques

There are a number of ways that help to relax including yoga, massage, aromatherapy, meditation, pilates, laughing yoga, reflexology and many more tried and tested techniques. Having a favorite cup of herbal Tea or going for a movie or reading a favorite book can also do wonders for the nervous system.

Counselling and support groups

Counselling is a well-established way of helping to deal with stress. Talking about the problems may help to find solutions by identifying the root cause of the problem. The old saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ springs to mind.

Stress treatment using medicines

There are number of conventional and complementary treatments that can be used to relieve stress. They help you cope better by reducing the symptoms (such as feelings of anxiety, fear or feeling low):

Issues for Stress Counselling

  • Work Pressures
  • Family Stresses
  • Relationship Worries
  • Difficulty Coping
  • Panic Attacks
  • Irritability
  • Physical Ailments
  • Constant Tension

Our Therapists