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The Impact of Stress

The month of April is all about raising awareness and creating a better understanding of Stress.

Think about your own stresses? How does stress present to you? How does it impact you?

S - Situational

T - Tension

R - Reactive

E - Environment

S - Struggle

S - Strain

Situational Stress

We can find ourselves in many different situational stresses. This feeling normally happens in response to new or unfamiliar situations. It is a way of describing the typical anxiety that many people, myself included, experience when they are out of their “comfort zone.”

Do you recognise and relate to some of these examples:

  • Public speaking: A fear of public speaking is very common. People can feel hugely stressed knowing that they have got to give a presentation or make a speech.

  • Job interviews: This is a big stress factor as the stakes are high! Because of this, many people experience situational stress ahead of interviews, even if they are fully prepared and are confident.

  • Meeting new people: Going on a first date, talking with an important client, starting a new school or job or even being introduced to your new neighbours.

  • Travelling: Working away from home, going on a mode of transport for the first time  such as a boat or an aeroplane. Doing a train journey alone on a route that you have never been on before. Driving on a motorway.

  • Moving: Moving to a new area to which you are not familiar with. 

  • Extreme difficulties in the workplace or at school: This can be really hard as going to school or work is an essential must for the majority of us.

Situational stress can trigger the body’s fight-or-flight response, which can cause physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, rapid breathing, and sweating. It can provoke negative thoughts and emotions such as sadness, hopelessness, despair and anger. 

Continued levels of situational stress can impact cognitive function, making it difficult to concentrate, remember details, or make decisions. It can make it harder to sleep which can cause problems like insomnia, can make individuals less motivated to participate in social activities that they usually enjoy, leading to less social interaction and increased isolation.

The brain has many different functions to which a lot of us don't really understand. It is such a complex organ with many different responsibilities. Here is a simple explanation that may help you to understand your system better, which then in turn may help in navigating how you react and respond in stressful situations.

Being mindful of how you feel and how your body reacts can really help you in times of Situational Stress. Here are some examples of some things you you could do to try and help yourself:

  • Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or mindfulness which can help to reduce stress and encourage relaxation.

  • Engage in physical exercise. This is a great way to manage stress, as it releases endorphins that improve mood and reduce anxiety. 

  • Try your best to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and avoiding excessive alcohol or substance use. 

  • Talking to friends or family members about your stressors can be a great way to feel supported. 


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