You may feel like the world is on your shoulders. Stress makes you feel like you’re under too much mental or emotional pressure. It can affect us all. But if you’re under stress of long periods of time, you may end up with poor mental health.
Stress is a heightened sense of pressure, which can affect any person at any stage. You might be under pressure or facing uncertainty and only the person experiencing stress can determine whether it’s present and how severe it feels.
It’s important to support others when talking to people about stress by actively listening, validating how they’re feeling by trying to understand and recognise their experience, asking the person what they think might help reduce the pressure they’re experiencing, supporting them to seek professional help.
Causes and symptoms of stress
There are many causes of stress: it could be money or relationship problems, being unemployed, physical illness or going through a life-changing event. Sometimes you might be burning out and you don’t realise the signs yet.
Stress can manifest itself physically and emotionally and can also affect our behaviour and thinking:
- Physical symptoms might include muscle aches, dizziness, chest pain, nausea and headaches.
- Emotional symptoms might include feeling irritable, overwhelmed, angry, restless and scared.
- Behavioural symptoms might include avoidance, changes in eating habits and using alcohol.
- Cognitive symptoms might include racing thoughts, memory lapse and indecisiveness.
- Other symptoms might include dry mouth or shortness of breath, bowel or bladder problems and sweating.
There are some self-care strategies to help reduce stress:
- Establishing your priorities
- Reaching out to family and friends
- Spending time exercising or exploring nature
- Setting aside time for a hobby or trying something new.
How we can help
Our Information and Support Line signposts you to relevant support in the community that most fits your needs. If you’re going through money problems that might be affecting your mental health, our Mental Health and Money Advice service can provide you with practical tools to manage your finances.