Managing Your Stress

What Is Stress

Did you know that stress is a natural human response that helps us deal with challenges and threats in our lives? It usually comes from something that has happened or a thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry or nervous.

Stress can affect our emotions, our body and how we behave, in lots of different ways. Sometimes if we are stressed, we might be able to tell right away. But at other times, we might keep going without realizing the signs.  Over time, stress can affect our mental health.


Signs and Symptoms of Stress

The symptoms may be physical or emotional and can include: 

  • Irritability, anger or impatientness. 

  • Anxiety, nervousness, fear.

  • Racing thoughts or worry.

  • Depression or disinterest in life.

  • Difficulty breathing. 

  • Panic attacks.

  • Blurred eyesight.

  • Chest pain or high blood pressure.

  • Sudden weight gain or weight loss.

  • Sweating. 

  • Trouble sleeping.

The higher the level of stress, the greater the symptoms. 

Causes of Stress

You may be wondering what causes stress. This can be many things. You might feel stressed because of one big event or situation in your life. Or it might be a build-up of lots of smaller things. This might make it harder for you to find out what's making you feel stressed, or to explain it to other people.

You may experience stress if you:

  • Feel under lots of pressure.

  • Face big changes in your life.

  • Are worried about something.

  • Don't have much or any control over the outcome of a situation.

  • Have responsibilities that you find overwhelming.

  • Don't have enough work, activities or change in your life.

  • Experience discrimination, hate or abuse.

  • Are going through a period of uncertainty.

Identify Your Triggers
  • Working out what may trigger stress can help you prepare for it. Even if you can't avoid these things, being prepared can help. Knowing what you can and cannot change could help you work out the best way to deal with stress.

  • Take some time to think about what makes you feel stressed. You could do this on your own or with someone you trust. 

  • Thinking about these things may be upsetting. If remembering or talking about these experiences makes you feel worse, you can stop.

How to Cope With Stress

Many people find that if they plan and prepare for periods of stress, it can make it easier to get through them. Here are some healthy ways you can deal with stress: 

  • Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories or social media. 

  • Eat healthy, exercise, get plenty of sleep and take a break if you feel stressed out.

  • Organize your time. Some of us may feel stressed because we have a lot of things in our lives to take care of. It may help if we change the way we organize our time to help us feel more in control.

  • Take care of your body with deep breathing or meditation, and eat healthy well-balanced meals. Exercise regularly. Get plenty of sleep. Avoid alcohol, tobacco or drug use. Keep up with your vaccinations and see your doctor for checkups. 

  • Spend time doing activities you enjoy.

  • Talk to others who can offer you support. 

  • Connect with your community or faith-based organizations.

  • Know when you need help. 


We have lots of information to help you find support in different areas of your life. If you’re feeling stressed, be kind to yourself. Everything starts with you. 

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These links lead to third-party websites. Those companies are solely responsible for the contents and privacy policies on their sites. The information contained in this brochure is for educational purposes only. It does not represent a standard of care. Your physician must determine the appropriateness of the information in light of all your circumstances. It is important to discuss options with your physician when deciding on the best treatment for you.