Updated: Feb 5, 2019
Stress is often a normal, expected response to everyday challenging or dangerous situations. A small amount of stress can be a good thing – it helps you deal with these situations by increasing your energy and motivation.
Examples of common stressors include:
Daily pressures – at work or school, with family, or with other responsibilities.
A sudden negative change – such as illness, divorce, or losing a job.
Traumatic events – such as a major accident, assault, or a natural disaster.
However, when the stress becomes greater than your ability to cope with it, it can negatively impact on your quality of life, and cause physical and mental health problems.
It is important to recognise how stress affects you and what kinds of situations can worsen your stress, so you can manage it effectively.
It is also important to keep in mind that everyone copes with and are affected by stress differently. One person may cope with a certain stressful situation very well, while another person may take longer to recover.
What are the signs of stress?
Some signs you may be stressed include:
Poor sleep (sleeplessness or over sleeping)
Lack of motivation
Lack of concentration
Feeling overwhelmed or anxious
Reliance on alcohol or other substances to cope
Increase eating, drinking or nervous habits
Not coping with demands or responsibilities
How can I manage my stress?
Stress management can involve changing the circumstances that are causing you stress, if possible, and/or using techniques to help you deal with the stress and reduce its effects on your health.
Here are some basic tips that may help to manage your stress:
Identify your warning signs. For example: if you grind your teeth, get headaches or have a short temper.
Identify triggers. If you know what triggers your stress, you can try to find ways of removing the trigger, or you can anticipate them and try calming yourself beforehand.
· Establish routines. For example: regular times for meals, relaxation, and going to bed.
Eat healthy and get regular exercise.
Take time out. Participate in activities you enjoy and find relaxing. You could also consider more formal relaxation techniques such as yoga.
Limit alcohol, caffeine and nicotine. These can increase anxiety and sleeplessness.
Avoid using alcohol, tobacco or other drugs to cope.
Think positive thoughts. Try positive self-talk such as ‘I'm coping well given what's on my plate', instead of thinking things like ‘I can’t cope’ or ‘It’s not fair’.
· Talk to someone. Spend time and share your thoughts and feelings with people who support you. You could also talk to a counsellor
If your stress is persistent or interfering with you enjoying a healthy life, you are using alcohol or drugs to cope with stress, or you have suicidal thoughts, please seek medical attention. Do not hesitate to call us on 8340 2233 to book an appointment and talk to one of our friendly doctors.
If you need immediate help or support, you can also call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Feel free to book an appointment with one of our friendly doctors here:
· Australian Psychological Society 2017, ‘Tips for managing everyday stress,’ Australian Psychological Society, https://www.psychology.org.au/public/topics/stress-and-wellbeing/
· Health Direct 2017, ‘Stress management,’ Health Direct, https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/stress-management
· Lifeline, ‘Overcoming Stress,’ Lifeline, https://www.lifeline.org.au/get-help/topics/stress
· National Institute of Mental Health, ‘5 Things You Should Know About Stress,’ U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institute of Mental Health, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml