Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of threat or demand whether real or imagined. Stress isn’t always bad. It can work to help you become more focused, alert and energetic. But when you are constantly running in emergency mode, your mind and body pay the price.

Stress impacts adversely on your relationships and your health. It affects your productivity and your quality of life. Chronic stress can increase your blood pressure, increase the risk of heart attacks or strokes, suppress your immune system and cause digestive and sleep problems.

Symptoms of stress may include:

  • Constantly feeling anxious or tense
  • Problems with memory and concentration
  • Avoiding people or places that you would not normally
  • Increased irritability, feeling hostile or moody
  • Feeling out of control, overwhelmed
  • Increased muscle tension and inability to relax
  • Frequently getting sick
  • Upset stomach, diarrhoea, or indigestion
  • Headache, backache

If you frequently find yourself feeling stressed out and overwhelmed, it’s time to take action to bring your nervous system back into balance. You can protect yourself by learning how to recognise the signs and symptoms of stress and taking steps to reduce its harmful effects.