Emotional Mayhem

Emotional Mayhem

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Emotional mayhem is another way of phrasing overstressing.


What is stress?

Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you sense danger – whether it is real or imagined the body’s defenses kick into high gear which is known as the fight or flight reaction or the stress response.

The stress response is your body’s way of protecting you. When working properly it helps you stay focused, energized and alert. Stress can also help you to rise to challenges such as helping you study for an important exam or help you prepare for a job interview. When you start to overstress this can start causing problems with your mood, your productivity, your relationships and your quality of life.


Symptoms of stress

Cognitive signs

  • Memory problems
  • Lack of concentration
  • Only thinking negative thoughts
  • Constant worrying

Emotional signs

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Moodiness
  • Feeling alone

Physical signs

  • Aches and pains
  • Nausea/ dizziness
  • Chest pains
  • Frequent colds or flu

Behavioural signs

  • Eating more or less
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Using alcohol or drugs
  • Nervous habits


Causes of stress

There are many different causes of stress. The situation or pressures that cause stress are called stressors, we usually think of stressors as being negative such as a rocky relationship or an exhausting job. Stress can also be caused by external or internal factors which can be self-generated. This is when you over worry about something that may or may not happen.


Common external causes of stress

  • Major life changes
  • School or work
  • Difficult relationships
  • Financial problems
  • Children and family

Common causes of internal causes of stress

  • Negative self-talk
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • All or nothing attitude


Things that influence your stress levels

Your support network – a strong supportive network of friends and family is a great way against stress. When you know you have people you can rely on life pressures don’t seem so overwhelming but the more you isolate yourself the more stressed you may become.
Your ability to deal with your emotions – when you don’t know how to calm yourself when you get anxious upset or angry you may start to become over stressed or agitated. Understanding how to deal with your emotions can help you to manage your stress and help you become calm.
Your knowledge and preparations – the more you understand about stressful situations – including how long it last and what to expect the easier it to handle your stress.


Ways to improve your ability to cope with stress

Get moving – increasing your activity levels is something you can do straight away to help you feel better. Regular exercising can lift your mood and serve as a great distraction to worrying, allowing you to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts which leads to stress. Exercises such as walking, running, dancing and swimming are most effective.
Connecting with others – simply as talking face to face with someone can trigger hormones which help to relieve stress. Just a brief encounter or a friendly smile can help calm and soothe your nervous system. Spend time with people who make you feel good and allow yourself to have a social life. If you don’t have any close relationships or the relationships you do have are a cause of your stress try to build stronger and more satisfying connections.
Learn how to relax – you can’t eliminate stress from your life completely but you can learn how to control how much it affects you. Relaxing techniques such as yoga, meditation and deep breathing increases the body’s relaxing response. When done often these activities can lead in a reduction of your everyday stress and a boost in your feeling of happiness.
A healthy diet – the food you eat can increase or worsen your mood and affect how you deal with everyday stresses. Eating a diet of processed or convenience food, refined carbohydrates and sugary snacks can worsen the symptoms of stress. Aim for a diet which is rich in fruit and vegetables, high-quality protein and healthy fats, creating a healthy and balanced diet can help deal with every day up and downs.
Getting plenty of rest – feeling tired can have a negative effect on the way you think and feel increasing your stress levels. Overstressing can lead to staying up at night and not falling asleep. There are many different ways to getting a good night’s sleep which will help you to feel less stressed and more peaceful.


Jessica Cuthbertson – CYP drop-in volunteer

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