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Dealing with my stress

Definition - What is stress?

"The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them"

Stress is not an illness but if it becomes excessive and/or prolonged, mental and physical illness may develop.

Work is generally good for people if it is well designed, but it can also be a great source of pressure. Pressure can be positive and a motivating factor, it can help us achieve our goals and perform better. Stress is a natural reaction when this pressure becomes excessive.

Are you stressed?

Stress produces a range of signs and symptoms, the following is not an exhaustive list of the symptoms of stress but if you feel that your attitudes or behaviour is changing due a situation at work or home, these may indicate stress and a need to seek further advice from your GP.

Anyone can suffer from work related stress, no matter what work they do.

Behaviour

you may:

  • find it hard to sleep;
  • change your eating habits;
  • smoke or drink more;
  • avoid friends and family; or
  • have sexual problems.

Physical symptoms

might include:

  • tiredness;
  • indigestion and nausea;
  • headaches;
  • aching muscles; or
  • palpitations.

Mentally

you may:

  • be more indecisive;
  • find it hard to concentrate;
  • suffer loss of memory;
  • feelings of inadequacy; or
  • low self esteem.

Emotionally

you are likely to:

  • get irritable or angry;
  • be anxious;
  • feel numb;
  • be hypersensitive; or
  • feel drained and listless.

To see the experiences of others watch the following videos:

Stress can be tackled when people understand how and why it occurs and where there is a real determination to take positive action.

What can I do if I think I am stressed?

There are many organisations that may be able to help you with the issues that are causing your stress.

If you think you are suffering from any mental health problem or any of the symptoms identified in the table above, it may be advisable to speak to your GP. It is also a good idea to talk to your line manager, Human Resources department or Occupational Health provider.

It is important to take action and to review your lifestyle to see if you can identify any contributing factors.

Stress at work is a reaction to events or experiences at work. Common mental health problems can arise through causes outside work, e.g. bereavement, divorce, post-natal depression. However, people can have common mental health problems with no obvious causes. The following case studies may help you understand how others coped with their stress

NHS Choices is the online 'front door' to the NHS. It is the UK's biggest health website and gives all the information you need to make choices about your health.

Take the stress test gives tips for recognising and monitoring your stress with a useful quick “stress test” which helps you understand what aspects of your job may be causing problems

Beat stress at work provides help and guidance about recognising and coping with your stress in the workplace

Updated 2012-12-05