Stress is a feeling that everything seems to have become too much, overloaded and wonder whether we can cope with the pressures placed upon us.

Anything that poses a challenge or a threat to our well-being is a stress. However, stress undermines both our mental and physical health which is very bad.

 Note: Stressor is an agent or stimulus that causes stress.

Stress is the feeling we have when under pressure, stressors are the things we respond to in our environment. Examples are noises, unpleasant people, etc.

When we are stressed the following happens:

  1. Blood pressure rises
  2. Breathing becomes more rapid
  3. Digestive system slows down
  4. Heart rate (pulse) rises
  5. Immune system goes down
  6. Muscles become tense
  7. We do not sleep properly (heightened state of alert)

Some of the effects of stress on the body

A tendency to sweat, back pain, chest pain, cramps or muscle spasm, erectile dysfunction, headache, heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), loss of libido, lower immunity against diseases, muscular aches, sleeping difficulties, stomach upset.

Effect on your thoughts and feelings

Anger, anxiety, burnout, depression, forgetfulness, irritability, sadness, restlessness, fatigue, problem concentration.

Effects on your behaviour

Relationship problem, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, eating too little, eating too much, sudden angry outbursts.

Most common causes of Stress

Bereavement, family problems, financial matters, illness, job issues, lack of time, relationship problems.

The following are also causes of stress;

Pregnancy, pollution, noisy environment, uncertainty.

Note: A feeling of frustration, anxiety and depression can make some people feel stressed more easily than others.

How to deal with stress

  1. Exercise: Exercise has proven to have a beneficial effect on a person’s mental and physical state.
  2. Division of labour: Delegate your responsibilities at work or share them.
  3. Assertiveness: Do not say yes to everything.
  4. Alcohol: Alcohol and drugs consumption should be stopped completely or cut down.
  5. Seek professional help.
  6. Nutrition: Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and make sure you have a healthy and balanced diet.
  7. Talk: Express your thoughts and worries to your family friend, colleagues and your boss.
  8. Relaxation for example meditation, massage or yoga have helped people with stress.
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