What is stress?
Stress is an umbrella term which is used to describe our reactions to all the pressures which affect our lives. Sources of stress can be joyful events such as a new job, a promotion, a wedding or moving to a new city. They also include unhappy events like a death, diagnosis of illness, a car accident, or an arrest. Stress may arise from trying to please others or trying to meet your own expectations about work performance, performance at school, or family. Anyone who is striving to accomplish something or who is striving to please others can become stressed. Trying to accomplish something is usually a pleasurable activity; stress is an over-reaction and can be paralyzing, rather than energizing.
Who does it affect?
You may not realize that you are stressed beyond your ability to cope. From an early age, we all develop ways of coping with stress. Tests at school, athletic or musical performances, and public speaking are examples of events that we may have faced as children. Occasionally, though, as adults we face too many pressures at once. Events such as family illness, criticism, deadlines at work, or problems with children, if they occur at the same time, can overwhelm anyone’s ability to cope effectively.
Signs and symptoms
- If you can’t sleep due to worrying
- If you worry about problems you can’t control
- If you are eating more and more often
- If you don’t want to eat at all
- If you aren’t able to work toward your goals
- If you are irritable
Stress is a product of the civilization that we live in. We are expected to do more and more, beyond the capabilities of human beings. Balance in life means allocating time and energy according to our values, including time for friends, family, spiritual concerns, productive work, hobbies, and learning new things.
Stress management counseling can help you identify the sources of your stress and help you set priorities. Sometimes taking time for yourself will allow you to gain perspective and develop new ways to tackle the problems you are facing. Identifying problems over which you have no control can give you the opportunity to learn how to delegate or otherwise let go. Learning relaxation techniques and time management strategies will allow you more control in your life.