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What is Stress?

Day to day we all have demands placed upon us. Generally we manage these demands quite well, however sometimes we no longer find it easy to cope. This is when our bodies let us know we are stressed. Stress is our bodies response to situations we find difficult or tough. Our bodies release chemicals which give us energy and strength.

A little stress can be good for you:
Competing in sports
Finishing an important assignment
Running from danger
Preparing for an interview

A lot of stress/prolonged stress can be bad for you
Constant worrying
Work overload
Always thinking the worse
Feeling hurried/pressured

It is important to identify and deal with stress quickly so it does not become damaging to your life and the lives of those around you.

What Causes Stress?

Everybody is different and different things will cause stress for different people. Here are a few causes of stress that people have identified:

Changing life circumstances

Symptoms of Stress

Remember you are not alone. Everybody will experience stress at some point in their lives. Here are some warning signals to look out for which may indicate your stress
levels are becoming unmanageable:

Dry mouth
Frequent crying
Loss of appetite
Feeling overwhelmed
Drinking to much
Drug taking
Rushing around

Coping with Stress

Exercising is a good way to release all that excess energy and strength. Twenty minutes of walking, running or swimming will help to reduce stress levels.

Talking to someone often helps to identify the stressor. With the help of another person you can formulate plans to reduce the amount of stress you are experiencing.

Often sleep is disrupted when we feel stressed. To ensure a good nights sleep try a relaxing bath and a hot drink before bed. Stop any strenuous activity at least one hour before bed.

Change Thought Patterns
Sometimes stress leads us to get caught up in a cycle of negative thinking. Everything seems black and what will go wrong does go wrong. Try to identify your patterns of negative thinking. Try to focus on the positive aspects of your life and what is going right.

Breathing Techniques
A quick and effective way to help reduce stress is to focus on your breathing. Breath in through your nose counting to five and exhale through your mouth focussing on each breath. Repeat this pattern.

Healthy Eating
A healthy diet will help combat the effects of stress such as dehydration and tiredness. Try to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and give the coffee and junk food a break.

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