Stress and being overwhelmed

Most people will find themselves suffering from stress at some point in their lives and depending on your personality, you may find yourself more susceptible than others. Those who strive to succeed at all costs and those who look to please others may find themselves less able to cope.

One of the most common causes of stress is feeling powerless. Feeling unable to control or change our lives in the way we want is one of the most common concerns.

Big changes in your life can also leave you feeling stressed and anxious, even if they are positive changes. Typical changes that can cause stress include having a baby, marriage, moving house, bereavement or illness.

Long-term circumstantial problems also contribute to our daily stress levels; for example, issues surrounding family, relationships, work issues, unemployment and poverty can all leave us feeling stressed and  affected both emotionally and physically.

Stress is a problem that feeds on itself and lowers your ability to cope - so the sooner you seek help, the better. The stigma of mental illness means many are reluctant to get the help they need, sadly this will only encourage a destructive cycle of stress, anxiety and depression. Be sure to contact your local health practitioner if:

  • Stress (and the effects of stress) are dominating your life.

  • Stress is affecting you physically to the point that you feel unwell.

  • You are abusing alcohol or taking drugs to cope.

  • You are experiencing angry outbursts that are affecting those around you.

Acknowledging the issue is your first step; many of us choose to bury our heads in the sand, accepting our daily stresses as a part of life. Once you acknowledge that you are not OK and need support, you will find the rest falls into place.

Start off with a visit to your GP - they will be able to assess the severity of the problem and may recommend talking therapies or counselling. Talking through the issues you are facing with a counsellor can help you to deal with any underlying issues that are affecting your stress levels such as low self-esteem. Counselling may also be able to identify your personal stress triggers and can talk you through ways of dealing with them.

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