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What Is Stress?

Feeling overwhelmed? Poor sleep? Change in appetite? Palpitations? Muscle tension? Stress affects us all differently as our bodies enter fight or flight mode to cope with the perceived threat.

Stress doesn’t just have a physical impact on our bodies, it also affects us psychologically and influences how we behave. 

When stressed you might experience an increase in worry and anxiety. Your concentration could be affected and you might start forgetting simple things and feeling overwhelmed by everyday tasks. Even the ability to make a straightforward decision can feel like a challenge. 

Physically, our bodies respond to stress. It is not uncommon to suffer from headaches or dizziness. As our heart rate increases due to stress, you might notice chest pains or tightness and a change in your breath. You might also experience an upset stomach as our body kicks into fight or flight mode. Our appetite and sleep are also affected, unsurprisingly so is our ability to regulate our emotions as we often become tearful or irritable, with our responses being exaggerated.

When stressed you might have the tendency to avoid certain places and people, you might also want to engage in unhelpful behaviours such as drinking alcohol and smoking. These can provide short-term relief but have a detrimental long-term impact. 

To summarise, stress can have a major impact on our functioning and by recognising our symptoms we can learn ways to manage.

Reference: NHS.UK. (2019). Get help with stress. [online] Available here

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