Understanding how stress affects you
All of the worries and concerns that you may have could be multiplied many times over and raise your stress levels as our world battles the Coronavirus pandemic. But there is help at hand to help you manage day to day. The Mental Health Foundation has published this free guide.
But what is stress and what causes it?
It’s hard to describe exactly what it is. We might describe ourselves as “under stress” or “stressed out” by situations or events in our lives that put pressure on us that we find difficult to cope with or that we don’t feel that we can control very well.
Why does it have a physical effect on me?
The body prepares itself to respond to a threat by releasing cortisol and adrenaline. This is sometimes called the fight, flight, or freeze response. If you often suffer from heightened, or toxic levels of stress it is likely that you’re producing high levels of these hormones which can have a negative effect on your body.
Early signs could be headache, upset stomach, or tiredness. People can often look and feel exhausted and stress can impact your general health. This in turn can increase stress levels.
How might stress make me feel?
- Wound up, irritable or aggressive
- Nervous or anxious
- Your mind races and you can’t stop it
- Inability to have fun
- Not interested in life
- Loss of sense of humour
- A sense of dread
- Concerned about your health
How might stress affect my behaviour?
- Difficulty making decisions
- Worrying all the time
- Avoid difficult situations
- Snappy and short with people
- Nailbiting or picking
- Difficulty concentrating
- Impact on your diet- eating too much or too little
- Alcohol or tobacco misuse
- Tearful and crying
And there may be physical effects too
- Panic attacks
- Tension in muscles
- Sore eyes or blurred vision
- Disrupted sleep and nightmares
- Disinterest in sex
- Tired all the time
- Grinding teeth or jaw
- Chest pains
- High blood pressure
- Heartburn or acid reflux
- Upset bowel movements
- Dizziness or fainting
So stress or being stressed can manifest itself on your body and mind in numerous ways, and it impacts different people differently. But these are just some of the ways that you can be impacted. Do you suffer any of these symptoms?
There is lots of help out there:
Try this useful guide https://www.stress.org.uk/home-2/stress-guides/
For information and support https://www.mind.org.uk/
And practical advice during the Coronavirus Pandemic https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/
But the most important thing to do is not keep it to yourself- ask for help.