Stress is a feeling we have when under pressure. It can be caused by stressors (stressors are agent or stimulus that causes stress) such as, noise, unpleasant people, a speeding car, working conditions.

Stress within your comfort zone can help you perform under pressure, motivate you to do your best, even keep you safe when danger looms. However, it can damage a person’s mood, relationships, and lead to hosts of serious mental and physical health problems when it becomes overwhelming.

Causes of stress

  1. Major life changes
  2. Work or school
  3. Relationship difficulties
  4. Financial problems
  5. Being too busy
  6. Children and family
  7. Chronic worry
  8. Pessimism
  9. Rigid thinking, lack of flexibility
  10. Negative self-talk
  11. Unrealistic expectations/Perfectionism
  12. All-or-nothing attitude
  13. Abortion
  14. Becoming a mother or a father
  15. Conflicts in the workplace
  16. Driving in bad traffic
  17. Fear of crime
  18. Losing your job
  19. Miscarriage
  20. Noisy neighbors
  21. Overcrowding
  22. Pollution
  23. Pregnancy
  24. Retirement
  25. Too much noise
  26. Uncertainty (awaiting laboratory test results, academic exam results, job interview results, etc)


What happens when you are stressed?

  1. Your Blood pressurerises
  2. Your Breathing becomes more rapid
  3. Your Digestive system slows down
  4. Your Heart rate (pulse) rises
  5. Your Immune system goes down
  6. Your Muscles become tense
  7. You find it difficult to sleep (heightened state of alertness)


Complications that may arise as a result of stress

  1. Depression and anxiety
  2. Weight problems
  3. Auto immune diseases
  4. Skin conditions, such as eczema
  5. Reproductive issues
  6. Pain of any kind
  7. Heart disease
  8. Digestive problems
  9. Sleep problems
  10. Cognitive and memory problems


Signs and symptoms of stress

  1. Frequent headache, jaw clenching or pain
  2. Gritting, grinding teeth
  3. Stuttering or stammering
  4. Tremors, trembling of lips, hands
  5. Neck ache, back pain, muscle spasms
  6. Light headedness, faintness, dizziness
  7. Ringing, buzzing or “popping sounds
  8. Frequent blushing, sweating
  9. Cold or sweaty hands, feet
  10. Dry mouth, problems swallowing
  11. Frequent colds, infections, herpes sores
  12. Rashes, itching, hives, “goose bumps”
  13. Unexplained or frequent “allergy” attacks
  14. Heartburn, stomach pain, nausea
  15. Excess belching, flatulence
  16. Constipation, diarrhea, loss of control
  17. Difficulty breathing, frequent sighing
  18. Sudden attacks of life threatening panic
  19. Chest pain, palpitations, rapid pulse
  20. Frequent urination
  21. Diminished sexual desire or performance
  22. Excess anxiety, worry, guilt, nervousness
  23. Increased anger, frustration, hostility
  24. Depression, frequent or wild mood swings
  25. Increased or decreased appetite
  26. Insomnia, nightmares or disturbing dreams
  27. Difficulty concentrating, racing thoughts
  28. Trouble learning new information
  29. Forgetfulness, disorganization, confusion
  30. Difficulty in making decisions
  31. Feeling overloaded or overwhelmed
  32. Frequent crying spells or suicidal thoughts
  33. Feelings of loneliness or worthlessness
  34. Little interest in appearance, punctuality
  35. Nervous habits, fidgeting, feet tapping
  36. Increased frustration, irritability, edginess
  37. Overreaction to petty annoyances
  38. Increased number of minor accidents
  39. Obsessive or compulsive behavior
  40. Reduced work efficiency or productivity
  41. Lies or excuses covering up poor work
  42. Rapid or mumbled speech
  43. Excessive defensiveness or suspiciousness
  44. Problems in communication, sharing
  45. Social withdrawal and isolation
  46. Constant tiredness, weakness, fatigue
  47. Frequent use of over-the-counter drugs
  48. Weight gain or loss without diet
  49. Increased smoking, alcohol or drug use
  50. Excessive gambling or impulse buying


How to tolerate and manage stress

Stress management is all about taking charge of your lifestyle, thoughts, emotions, and the way you deal with problems. Effective stress management relies on a tested, comprehensive approach that includes awareness of stress and general lifestyle changes. The following points can help you manage or tolerate stress;

  • Physical activity– Regular physical activity or exercise can serve as a distraction to your worries, by lifting your mood. It also allows you to find some quiet time and break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed stress and anxiety.
  • Division of labor– try to share your responsibilities at home and work.
  • Engage your senses– Engaging one or more of your senses such as sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, or movement will help you to find the sensory input that works for you. For example, does listening to an uplifting song make you feel calm? Or smelling ground coffee? Or petting an animal makes you feel centered? Everyone responds to sensory input a little differently.
  • Assertiveness – You should not always yes to everything. If you can’t do something well, or if something is not your responsibility, try to seek ways of not agreeing to do them.
  • Get enough rest– Getting enough sleep makes you feel less stressed, more productive and emotionally balanced.
  • Alcohol and drugs– You should cut down on them, or stop consuming them completely.
  • Caffeine– Reduce your consumption of coffee and other drinks which contain caffeine.
  • Nutrition– eat healthy and balanced diet, with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Time– Set a ‘me time’ each day for yourself. Use that time to organize your life, relax, and pursue your own interests.
  • Breathing– some effective breathing techniques can slow down your system and help you relax.
  • Connect with others– Be helpful and friendly to others, talk to your family, friends, work colleagues and your boss. Share or express your thoughts and worries.
  • Seek professional help– if the stress is affecting the way you function; go and see your doctor. Heightened stress for prolonged periods can be bad for your physical and mental health.
  • Set aside relaxation time- Relaxation techniques such as meditation, massage, or yogaare known to reduce the effect of stress.
  • Stress management therapy such as aromatherapy, or reflexology, may have a beneficial effect.
  • Stress management techniques can be gained if you read self-help books, or attend a stress management course.

Doctors will not usually prescribe medications for coping with stress, unless the patient has an underlying illness, such as depression or some type of anxiety.

We advise you see a doctor if you are stressed, and seek the help of a counselor or psychotherapist for personal development or therapy sessions.

Article by: eDokita Team.


  1. Christian Nordqvist, ‘What is stress? How to deal with stress. Medical News Today, 2015. Web
  2. Carr, A. (2004). Positive psychology, the science of happiness and human strengths.BrunnerRutledge. Tailor & Francis group. Hove and New York.
  3. Azita Daneshvari Fard, Mina Mojtabaei. ‘The Effect of Cognitive Behavioral Stress Management and Psychological Well-Being and Adherence to Treatment In Patients with Coronary Heart Disease (Chd)’. International Journal of Humanities and Cultural Sciences (IJHCS) ISSN 2356- 5926. 2015.
  4. Org. Stress Symptoms, Signs, and Causes: Recognizing the Harmful Effects of Stress and What You Can Do About It. Web
  5. The American Institute of Stress. ‘Stress’.

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