Being stressed can be obvious to us sometimes, like when are about to start a major exam, and we can feel our heart beating faster, or we can feel that knot in our stomachs.
However we don’t always fully understand why we have these reactions, because we haven’t made the connection yet for various reasons. At these times it won’t be so easy, especially when our stress is not related to a specific event as above, but creeps up over time. You might therefore find it helpful to consider these signs as warning bells:
- Poor memory
- Lapses in concentration
- Difficulty making decisions
- Irritability and snappiness
- Increased arguments with family or friends
- Standards slipping, eg grooming, clothes, eating, schoolwork
- Upset stomach
- Feeling unsociable, wanting to be alone
- Feeling like things in your life are getting hard to control
What can you do about this? Here are a few ideas:
- Seek out a calming place, or create a calming place. You’ll know what works for you.
- Keep a journal – writing about your stress can be useful in a couple of ways. It can help you see the issues around the stress more clearly, it can help the issue seem a bit more manageable, which could reduce your stress immediately. It might even help you work it out eventually, when you read it over it again after some time has passed.
- Talk to someone you trust. Having someone to talk to about it can help you feel better because you won’t feel so alone and as above you might be able to work out why you are feeling so stressed. Trusted friends might also be able to explore the situation and see things you might be missing, that are leading to your increased stress.
- Try breathing exercises that reduce your heart-rate, when you feel stressed. Count 1-2-3 as you breathe in and again as you breathe out. Keep doing it until you feel more settled. This can give you a sense of control over your stress which can in turn reduce it.
- For some people a more physical exercise, like riding a bicycle, will be more helpful.
- If these things don’t help, and you still feel like it’s getting out of hand see a professional, like a counsellor, who is trained to guide you through to see things with better understanding.
These are just a short list of ideas, but you may have more, so feel free to add to this list.