Everyone experiences stress at some point in their lives, whether it’s because of a hectic day at work, an argument with a partner, or simply because you’re stuck in a traffic jam when running late, but stress can become more of a long-term issue in some people’s lives, as they struggle to navigate the challenges life throws at them.

There’s no medical definition of stress, but it can be described as the feeling of being overwhelmed and unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure. Stress is our body’s biological mechanism when it senses we’re in danger. That danger, unfortunately, can be everyday struggles that we can’t avoid, having too much to do by a certain deadline, feeling pressure to do something well, and lacking control over something are all sources of stress for many people.

Stress can cause us to have mental health problems and make existing problems worse, for example it may lead to anxiety or depression. Mental health problems can also lead to stress, creating what may feel like a vicious circle.


These are some of the common signs, symptoms, and effects of stress:

Emotionally, you might feel:

  • aggressive, angry, resentful, or irritable
  • anxious, nervous, or afraid
  • like your thoughts are racing
  • overburdened with responsibility or tasks
  • impatient or constantly in a hurry
  • a sense of dread or impending doom
  • lonely and isolated
  • unable to enjoy yourself
  • uninterested in life’s pleasures
  • lacking in a sense of humour
  • like running away
  • worried about the consequences of feeling this way
  • suicidal

Physically, you might have:

  • headaches
  • constant fatigue and tiredness
  • blurred vision
  • shallow breathing or hyperventilating
  • panic attacks
  • muscle tension
  • grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw
  • indigestion or heartburn
  • nausea, constipation. or diarrhoea
  • dizziness or fainting spells
  • problems sleeping or nightmares
  • loss of sex drive or enjoyment in sex
  • chest pains
  • high blood pressure

And all this could make you more likely to:

  • struggle to concentrate or make decisions
  • worry constantly
  • become tearful or start crying
  • snap at people more easily than normal
  • eat too much or not enough
  • avoid the things that make you feel stressed
  • struggle to sit still, relax or feel tranquil
  • become short-tempered with people
  • pick at your skin or bite your nails
  • smoke or drink alcohol more than usual


These are some of the common causes of stress:

  • Being under pressure
  • a feeling of having no control over the outcome of a situation
  • taking on too much responsibility
  • a lack / loss of work
  • changes in your life state (end of a relationship, starting a new job, etc)
  • financial problems
  • having difficulty with other people
  • uncertainty
  • health issues
  • not having enough time to complete tasks


There are steps that you can take to help with your stress including:

  • identify your triggers, work out what causes you stress and think about what you can do to anticipate problems
  • make lists of things you need to do and prioritise the most urgent
  • try not to take on too much at once and don’t be afraid to ask for help
  • accept that there are things in life that cause us stress and try not to worry about them too much, concentrate on what you can change
  • make lifestyle changes to help cope with stress such as relaxation techniques, develop hobbies that take your mind off the stresses of daily life
  • find balance in your life so that you do schedule time for self-care
  • look after your physical health so that you get enough sleep, physical activity can help relieve stress and eat healthily
  • talk to people about what causes you to stress such as a trained Counsellor, friends and family, etc

If you would like to speak with us about your stress, please get in touch via our CONTACT US page or by email at