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Stress Awareness: Good Stress/Bad Stress and How To Help Yourself

Today is National Stress Awareness Day. Stress believe it or not can actually be a good thing. In small doses it can help motivate you in some areas such as studying for an exam or perhaps giving you a push to finish a task at work.

The issue is with what happens when you receive too much stress. Emotional stress if left unchecked can create negative side effects which include high blood pressure, depression, anxiety and fatigue. One way to avoid any of the aforementioned conditions occurring or manifesting even further, is to be aware of the signals of too much stress.

Your physical body usually provides a good early warning indicator that your are experiencing too much stress. You may for example suddenly find that you are suffering more frequently with colds that seem impossible to shake. Regular occurrences of headaches and your body aching can also be another warning sign. Becoming increasingly more angry, irritable or struggling to concentrate can also act as a signal that you may be experiencing an unhealthy level of stress.

Tolerance levels towards stress and its triggers can differ from person to person. Some people for example can handle leaving designing a presentation or revising for an exam until the very last moment. Others however, have butterflies in their stomach just thinking about that. If you are getting butterflies in the stomach just reading this then always try and give yourself more time when planning for such an event to help manage your stress levels.

There are actions you can take to help manage and reduce your emotional stress levels. Exercise reduces stress by flooding the body with endorphins that help improve our moods, boost our energy levels and can create a welcome distraction to what may be troubling you at the time. Other techniques that help to reduce stress include, breathing techniques, meditation and yoga. Also consider talking to family or close friends. Some times just talking about it can help puncture your stress balloon.

If none of the above are a viable option then try a counsellor or psychotherapist who has the professional training and expertise to help.

Simon Garcia (Dip. Psych.)

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