Stress is the feeling of being under too much pressure, whether that’s applied by other people or ourselves. When we feel out of control, this pressure turns into stress. Different people react differently to stressful situations, and some may even find them motivating.

WHAT CAUSES STRESS?

Stress can be caused by a wide variety of factors, but the most common causes are work, relationships and money. When we feel stressed, it is sometimes hard for us to pinpoint where the stress is coming from.

Stress can often prevent us from solving the problem which is worrying us in the first place. For this reason, it is important to identify ways in which we can control our feelings.

HOW CAN YOU RECOGNISE WHEN YOU ARE STRESSED?

Common symptoms of stress are sleep problems, a loss of appetite and a feeling of anxiety in your stomach. It is also often hard to concentrate on other things going on around you. Some people even suffer physical pain, such as headaches or muscle tension.

If you feel stressed but aren’t sure what is causing it, you could keep a stress diary. Take note of who you are with and what you are doing when you start to feel stressed.

HOW CAN YOU OVERCOME STRESS?

The earlier you spot any symptoms of stress, the easier they are to manage. While stress can rarely be prevented, there are methods you can take to manage it effectively.

It is important to learn how to relax. This could be through reading, spending time with family or listening to music. Exercise and sports are also known to reduce stress levels.

Meditation means focusing your thoughts on one thing. Studies have found that this is an effective way of reducing stress, as well as improving your mood.

While there is no quick cure for stress, there are simple things you can do to calm your mind. Breathing exercises are often effective in the short term – one for you to try is breathing in through your nose for ten seconds, and then out through your mouth for ten seconds. Feel your tummy slowly fill up with air and then release it again.

Remember that stress affects everyone and that you are not the only one who sometimes feels under too much pressure.