What is stress?
Stress is our body’s response to feeling threatened or under pressure. We can feel stressed for all kinds of different reasons: financial pressures, work demands, difficulties in relationships etc.
Stress in itself isn’t bad – in the right amounts, it’s healthy and can motivate us to reach our goals. But it comes down to how we manage stress. Without the right coping strategies in place, prolonged periods of stress can damage our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing – and sometimes, lead to burnout.
Common symptoms of stress
- Memory problems
- Inability to concentrate
- Anxious or racing thoughts
- Constant worry
- Irritability or short temper
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Aches and pains
- Chest pains
- Procrastination or neglecting responsibilities
- Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)
Treatment for stress
Frequently asked questions
When should I get help for stress?
What are the most effective treatments for stress?
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Schema Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) are all effective treatments if you are experiencing high levels of stress.
What are the signs of burnout?
Burnout happens when there is an imbalance of what we are giving out to the world and what we are taking for ourselves. If this balance falls out of whack, over time we’ll find that our psychological and physical resources simply burn out.
One of the first signs of burnout is exhaustion. Exhaustion causes cognitive problems so you might find that you’re easily losing focus in meetings or that you’re becoming increasingly forgetful. Your anxiety levels will increase so you might find yourself over-thinking or overly preoccupied about work. Changes in mood often mean increased irritation. So you might have a shorter fuse, or find that you’re drinking more or eating more (or less) as a means of coping.