Unfortunately stress is a common part of modern day life. Stress occurs when there is a buildup of pressure which is above the level a person can cope with. How we feel when we’re under pressure up to a point can be a good thing. It can help us rise to challenges in situations where we need to be at our best – in interviews for example, or if we have to learn and remember something. Some people love the thrill they get from the pressure that comes from doing something at high speed, like riding a roller coaster. However, if too much pressure continues long-term it can result in severe stress which can be bad for your physical and emotional health. And that’s where emotional resilience comes in – the ability to handle what life throws at you and bounce back. Common causes of stress include relationship problems, money and work worries. How your body reacts to this kind of stress can over time be harmful to your health, putting you at risk of heart attacks and strokes. Stress is a common problem. According to a survey by the Mental Health Foundation 59 per cent of British adults feel that they are more stressed than they were five years ago. 12.8 million days in the UK are lost every year due to stress at work. One in two workers in the UK claim to suffer from stress in the workplace. At Network Rail 9% of occupational health referrals in 2012/13 were due to stress.
Symptoms of Stress
Everyone reacts to stress in different ways, so it is important to understand how you as an individual respond to stress and the signs you need to look out for. Common symptoms of stress can be broken down into the following categories:
- Psychological: Constant worrying, unable to concentrate, only seeing the negative, or anxious thoughts
- Emotional: Mood swings, feeling irritable, unable to relax, or feeling overwhelmed
- Physical: Headaches, muscle pain, nausea or dizziness, diarrhoea or constipation
- Behavioural: Eating more or less, sleeping too much or too little, isolating yourself from others, using alcohol, smoking, or using drugs more than usual
Having emotional resilience is about having inner strength – the ability to bounce back from the stresses and challenges that life, family, work and the world throws at you. There are a number of things you can do to help make yourself more resilient such as improving your diet, physical activity and quality of sleep. Don’t ignore your own emotional wellbeing. If something is making you feel stressed, talk to someone you trust. Another person’s point of view can help you deal with difficult situations. To find the cause of your stress make a note of where you were, who you were with and what you were doing when it started. Understanding the situation can help you deal with it.