Stress and Anxiety are usually interlinked and are coming to be terms which are used more often than ever, affecting an ever increasing number of people.
Stress is a natural part of modern life and due to it’s physical, mental and emotional effects, can help us cope with the demands of daily living and can motivate us to get things done at home and work. However, when stress levels become too high it has the opposite effect and can make life hard to cope with and can cause harm to our health, productivity, mood, relationships and therefore quality of life.
Causes of stress are vast and below are three broad reasons of how stress can affect us all:
Life changes – both positive and negative life changes can cause stress for many reasons and each person’s ability to cope will vary, but things such as marriage, pregnancy, divorce and death can all cause major stress.
Work – with an ever increasing work force with both men and women holding down full or part-time jobs, work related stress is higher than it’s ever been, but often it’s hard for someone to recognise that stress is the cause of their unhappiness and it can lead to depression if not addressed.
Money – we live in a society where money problems and debt are commonplace and not having enough money to pay bills or afford the increasing cost of living can cause serious stress.
Illness – becoming ill suddenly or living with chronic pain or a long-term medical condition can cause stress and can even make some medical conditions worse, therefore being able to manage stress levels is vital for leading a healthy lifestyle.
Anxiety is a state which can persist even when the cause is not clear to the sufferer and can be described as a prolonged symptom of stress which can affect the quality of a person’s life.
Causes of anxiety can include:
Stress can be linked to feelings of anxiety and can trigger the uncomfortable feelings that go with anxiety especially if someone is feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope due to high levels of stress.
Life events and circumstances such as difficult situations or a sudden major change in someone’s life can be a major triggers for anxiety, which should subside gradually once things get better, however for some the anxiety can go on for months or even years.
Recreational drugs – is has been evidenced that amphetamines (speed), ecstasy and LSD can lead to anxiety disorders.
A ‘panic attack’ can be the result of both stress and anxiety:
A panic attack is a bodily response to exaggerated feelings of fear, stress or excitement. It can come on very suddenly and the symptoms can be terrifying and a person can feel like they are dying or having a heart attack. They will experience rapid breathing, increased heartbeat, clammy hands, profuse sweating, feeling faint, nausea, chest pains, shaky limbs and weak legs.
Enjoyable activities that could help a person to manage their stress and anxiety:
Sports/fitness – getting involved with some sort of fitness activity can not only be enjoyable and help with the physical aspects of anxiety, it can also be a good way to set goals and celebrate subsequent achievements.
Getting involved – becoming involved in the local community either through voluntary work or other activities is a great way to meet new people and so develop a support network.
Arrange social activities – relaxing and socialising with friends and family can be an enjoyable way to increase wellbeing, confidence and may also provide opportunities to get involved with other activities.
If you think you are suffering from stress or anxiety please contact us for further help.