Stress affects people of all ages and from all walks of life. One in five people in Scotland has a problem with stress at any given time, and that figure is reflected around the world.
To have some pressure in our lives is normal and, indeed, unavoidable. But when there is too much pressure for too long and we don't get the chance to rest and recover, or when it becomes more than we can cope with, then our health can suffer.
This unpleasant reaction to too much pressure or other types of demand placed on us is called stress. Think of blood pressure - we all have it but when it gets high, we should do something about it - stress is just the same.
When we find ourselves under some kind of pressure, our bodies respond automatically by releasing adrenaline to ensure we are prepared for action and able to meet the challenge before us:
This automatic reaction to a threatening situation is known as the 'fight or flight' response. The body produces hormones, including one called adrenaline, which help prepare our bodies to either run away or to be poised and ready to react. These changes are short-lived and die away when the pressure or threat stops, but they are useful in helping us achieve our goals.
This is because the body's response sharpens our mental and physical skills, focuses our attention, fires us up and is generally very helpful in helping us cope with pressure.
We tend to think that stress comes from being too busy and pressured, but it can be just as difficult to cope when we are in a situation where we do not have enough to do. Being unemployed or in a boring job which we don't enjoy, can make us frustrated and stressed and we can find ourselves at a low ebb.
Stress affects everyone differently, for example:
If we look at our lives, we may be able to identify particular areas of our lives which can cause stress. These may include:
Some of these things we cannot foresee. They happen to us out of the blue. Others are unavoidable, events or changes over which we have little control. We may fall into the trap of feeling that we should be able to cope, no matter what has happened. Also, we may be making high demands on ourselves by aiming to achieve certain things either at work or at home. Having high standards that we cannot meet may put ourselves under pressure to do better. This can produce an enormous amount of stress.
Learn to accept that there are very real reasons for feeling stressed. What works for each person may be different, but these are some things that may help:
Finally, remember to make time for doing something you enjoy. Giving yourself some space is as important as getting all those jobs done.
Personal and Organisational Growth and Development: in the HOME, in BUSINESS, in the COMMUNITY.