Stress is the emotional and physical strain caused by our response to pressure from the outside world. It is almost impossible to live without some stress and for most of us a certain amount of stress gives a sense of excitement, incentive and enables us to achieve. If however stress becomes out of control, it may harm our health, relationships and enjoyment of life. Common stress reactions, when things get too much can be mental, such as tension, irritability, inability to concentrate, feeling tired all the time and having trouble sleeping.

We may also suffer physical symptoms such as headache, feeling sick, tightening of muscles which might lead to pain, visiting the toilet frequently. Different reactions vary from person to person.

Over-eating, drinking, smoking, drug abuse and other addictions can be a symptom of stress. They allow a temporary escape, but do not solve the underlying problem. If you are suffering from stress there are many self-help techniques you can try, Google: ‘suffering from stress’, for some ideas to try can try or of course speak to your doctor.

The NHS Choices definition of stress is as follows:

What is Stress

Stress is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure.

Pressure turns into stress when you feel unable to cope. People have different ways of reacting to stress, so a situation that feels stressful to one person may be motivating to someone else.

Many of life’s demands can cause stress, particularly work, relationships and money problems. And, when you feel stressed, it can get in the way of sorting out these demands, or can even affect everything you do.

Stress can affect how you feel, think, behave and how your body works. In fact, common signs of stress include sleeping problems, sweating, loss of appetite and difficulty concentrating.

You may feel anxious, irritable or low in self esteem, and you may have racing thoughts, worry constantly or go over things in your head. You may notice that you lose your temper more easily, drink more or act unreasonably.

You may also experience headaches, muscle tension or pain, or dizziness.

Stress causes a surge of hormones in your body. These stress hormones are released to enable you to deal with pressures or threats – the so-called "fight or flight" response. 

Once the pressure or threat has passed, your stress hormone levels will usually return to normal. However, if you're constantly under stress, these hormones will remain in your body, leading to the symptoms of stress.


Combat Stress is an ex-Service society which provides support to those of have suffered injury of the mind.

Another useful site might be the Counselling Directory

See also Mental Health

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