Stress – the very word can make you feel tense.  There are few people who don’t face at least some stress each day, and many of us face more than our fair share.  But what exactly is stress and how should we deal with it?   Stress is defined as the inability to cope with a perceived threat (either mental, physical or emotional) which can affect one’s physical health. Stress is our perception of our environment; rooted in feelings of fear and anger and often expressed as impatience, frustration, envy, hostility, depression, doubt, anxiety, guilt or worry.

CAUSES:
• Worrying about events beyond our control
• Hurried approach to life
• Relationship problems caused by your behaviour

BEHAVIOURAL EFFECTS:
• Fatigue

• Headaches
• Tearfulness
• Aches and pains (due to muscle tension)
• Sweating
• Lack of energy
• Insomnia
• Loss of appetite or over eating
• Low concentration
• A reduced ability to apply new information
• Lower levels of creativity
• Low self-esteem

EMOTIONAL EFFECTS:
• Depression
• Anxiety
• Irritability
• An inability to relax

STRESS REDUCERS:
• Get organised – evaluate your time management
• Take one day at a time.
• Separate worries from concernsstress-management
• Simplify life
• Adopt a forgiving attitude
• Live within your budget
• Make time to be alone
• Be grateful for at least one thing every day
• Positive re-enforcement and affirmation; remember your good qualities and focus on these.
• Avoid “should have”
• Do not compare yourself with others
• Teach yourself to say NO
• Laugh more
• Avoid criticising yourself with put-downs and negative comments
• Eat healthy, sleep well, exercise and relax
• Remember, the shortest distance between despair and hope is often a good night’s sleep!