Understanding Stress Part 2

What is stress and how can you recognise the symptoms?


Marianna Kilburn
Qualified Life Coach
@MariannaKilburn
Ask Marianna


10 December 2013

Know your triggers

We need to be realistic and aware that life comes with many ups and downs. The most common stressful situations involve relationships with partners and family members, work situations and money issues and these affect us all. So too do major life changes such as bereavement, house moves and poor health.

Whilst many of the external stressors are outside of our control our responses to them vary and the more insight we have into our personal triggers the better equipped we will be deal with them.  It may be useful to consider the following questions:

  • What have been the most stressful events in my life?
  • Which issues seem to recur?
  • When was the last time I was stressed?
  • What caused the stress?
  • How did I respond mentally, physically emotionally?
  • What helped?

As we become more conscious of the things most likely to cause us stress we also tend to learn the best ways to help ourselves.

What can help?

Whatever is causing our stress, one of best ways to deal with it is to build a personal toolkit of stress busting techniques.  The beauty of modern technology is that so many resources are instantly available to us. Through reading, talking to other people and trying different options we can each develop our personal prescription for better health.

Here are a few suggestions to consider:

For improved physical well being:

  • Choose a physical activity which appeals to you e.g walking, running, yoga, a dance  class etc.  This can help relieve emotional tension and rebalance stress hormones provided you don’t over do it!
  • Cut down on sugar, alcohol, caffeine etc as these can over stimulate stress hormones even though the immediate effect may relieve tension.
  • Change your environment.  By going to see a friend, going out in nature, going for a meal etc. it can move the focus off the problem and help shift perspective.
  • See health care practitioner for advice

For improved emotional well-being

  • Connect with people and consider that a problem shared is a problem halved.  A good support network of like minded friends, who understand your issue, can help you find solutions and reduce the sense of isolation common to stress.
  • Take some quality time out for yourself, even if just for a couple of hours a week, to enjoy doing something you love that connects you back to you.
  • Consider taking a flower essence which works specifically on emotional balance

For improved mental well-being

  • An attitude of gratitude can help us focus on what is positive in our lives when whatever is causing us stress can cloud our mentality.  Try writing a list of 5 things you are grateful for at the end of each day.
  • Consider a herbal remedy to decrease symptoms of stress and mild anxiety
  • Practice proactivity by asking yourself some questions.   This can move us from feeling like a victim of a situation to a more empowered mindset e.g.
  • What can I learn about myself from this situation?
  • What is the most self caring thing I could do right now?
  • What support do I need?
  • What options do I have?

Remember that you are not alone

Sadly there can be a stigma attached to stress and mental health issues which can leave us feeling ashamed and isolated and further exacerbate a stressful situation.

It’s important to remember that we are not alone and the more we can risk being honest and connecting with others who understand, the better chance we have of restoring a sense of well-being.

As they say, a problem shared is a problem halved so please share your comments and ideas below.

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