Everyone experiences stress of some kind and in varying levels of intensity during their lives. The important issue is how people react or respond to the stress affecting them. 

Some stress arises from external pressures or events, such as the death of a relative or friend. Other stressors are internal and may be associated with how a person responds to life situations.

Responses to stress may be influenced by personality, cultural background, social circumstances, and support networks. Responses may also vary depending on stage of life and previous experiences. Everyone will respond and react differently to stress in their lives.

Too much stress over an extended period of time can be harmful to physical and mental wellbeing and impact on a person's ability to function and live productively.

There are many signs that may indicate you or someone you know is experiencing stress.

Signs of stress are usually experienced as physical, mental, emotional or behavioural changes from what’s normal for us. Some of these signs may include:

1. Lack of motivation

2. Moodiness, increased or erratic emotion

3. Increased irritability or frustration

4. Inability to sleep or too much sleep

5. Difficulty concentrating

6. Headaches

7. Anxiousness or feeling overwhelmed

8. Not coping with demands and responsibilities

9. Reliance on alcohol or other substances to cope

10. Increased eating, drinking or nervous habits

There are practical strategies available that can help manage and even reduce stress. These strategies will help anyone maintain a healthy life balance and build resilience.

Firstly, it is important to be aware of any increase in stress and to find out what may be causing this. 

The first step in managing stress is to acknowledge that it exists.

By acknowledging the stress, it is possible to do something to take control before becoming overwhelmed. It is important to recognise the signals that things are not going so well. Ignoring these signals can put wellness and resilience at risk.

By learning to recognise what is normal stress and when something is abnormal, action can be taken to implement changes that might be needed. Learning how to respond appropriately will help to ‘stress down’, build personal resilience and improve health.

If possible, remove yourself from the stressful situation or location and find a quite place. Take a deep slow breath, take another one, and another one. Try to clear your mind of all thoughts, and bring yourself to the moment.

This can be helpful in stopping the overwhelming feelings in their tracks. Emotions pass, stressful or painful feelings may at times feel like they will take over and will never leave, but they do and will.

A clear mind can help you identify what is causing your stress, which will help you to manage the feelings, reactions and the situation. Experiencing the feelings when they occur and telling yourself that they will pass may also be helpful.

Help reduce Workplace Stress in 2020 by registering your business to participate in Stress Down Day. 

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By seeking help it’s possible to manage and alleviate your stress levels.