Issue 33

Stress And Coping              


The most common  form of stress is a mixture of anxiety (tension, nerves) and depression (feeling flat, sad). People who suffer from stress may also experience sleep problems, feelings of panic and anger.

Stress can affect lots of people despite their age, gender, race & class. It can make our thoughts, feelings and actions more negative and cause strange sensations in our bodies.

Nowadays stress is a normal part of modern day living and a certain amount of stress can actually be good for you Therefore, stress is not always a problem and some people actually thrive on it. However, what is important is that you learn to monitor your own stress levels and know when things are getting too much.

The most well known symptoms of stress include: becoming easily frustrated, feeling like you can't cope, having difficulty relaxing, feeling bad about yourself, not wanting to be around others, feeling tired, experiencing headaches, stomach upsets, feeling uptight, poor sleep, teeth grinding & rapid heartbeat.
There are lots of ways of coping with stress and below are a few techniques:

1) Talking – Bottling up your feelings can often increase symptoms of stress and so it is a good idea to open up to others and learn how to deal with particular problems to reduce the pressure you feel.

2) Distraction – When you feel yourself becoming stressed why not try describing an object that is near to you. Describe the object in as much detail as you can (e.g. size, shape, outline, colour, smell, texture, appearance). This exercise is good for distracting your mind from the source of stress for a short period of time.

3) Sometimes it can be helpful to allocate yourself 'worry time'. Put aside 5-10 minutes a day to think about things that have bothered you. However, make sure that you do not plan the 'worry time' to occur just before bedtime! This 'worry time' allows you to deal with any issues that are on your mind but remember that once this time is up you have to do your hardest to forget about the things bothering you until the next day.

4) Breathing – This is a quick technique to calm your body when you feel stressed. Sit in a comfy chair and try to relax as much as you can. Take a slow normal breath in (not a deep breath) and think "1" to yourself. As you gently breathe out think "relax". With the next breath in think "2" and then as you gently push the breath out think "relax". Keep doing this until you have taken 10 breaths in and out. Try to clear your mind of everything else and just focus on your breathing.

Don't be put off if you cannot manage this exercise straight away it takes practice try again another day.

5) Medication - Taking medication such as diazepam, beta blockers or anti-depressants can also help people to feel less stressed too.