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Stress has become the 'S' word and is often made to be responsible for every unfortunate event in our lives. The body can only function at its optimum if it is stimulated or stressed, a normal, correct balance of this stimulation is known as Eustress.

Stress as we know it is when that balance has been lost and the demands or stresses on the body far outweigh the bodies ability to respond well and function, and this is also known as 'Distress'.

Generally stress is seen as external stimuli exerting their pressures on the system and what causes most distress to people is their lack of control over it or their ability to deal with the situation. Everyone is capable of becoming distressed at any one time; it is not a sign of weakness or a mental disorder, more commonly a fact of modern day life.

Recognizing the signs and learning how best to deal with it is the answer. Left to run its own course can often be very debilitating so it is really more sensible to 'nip it in the bud'. Constant stress can bring about changes in the balance of hormones of the body, so if left unchecked can trigger off problems elsewhere.

Common symptoms include the inability to relax, and the feeling of 'guilt' if you take time out. Waking up in the early hours worrying about the next day. Finding it difficult to concentrate, to make decisions, to be patient and not frustrated when people don't do what you want them to do. Smoking and or drinking more, eating too fast, arguing all the time and interrupting when others are talking.

Physical signs of sweating more and/or the feeling of a butterfly stomach or thumping heart, if some of these describe you then perhaps you are stressed.

If you feel you are, then initially make a list of all the 'things' that frustrate you or annoy you or areas where you would like to make a change. Put the list to one side for 24 hours and forget about it, then the next day look at this list with a fresh mind and put them in an order of importance. Take each one in turn (if it's a long list don't try to do this all at one sitting), and try and see if there is anything that you can do about it.

For example too much housework outstanding DIY jobs - you can designate tasks to other individuals, or prioritize each job and aim at doing only a realistic amount each day, if you aim too high it will defeat the object of the exercise and you will remain stressed.

Remember often it is you the individual that sets your own life rules and only you can decide what you can or cannot do, change the rules to suit yourself, it may only be a temporary measure if there are too many other demands on you at that specific time. Concentrate on finishing one task first than trying to do half a dozen at the same time and finishing none.

There is more satisfaction and uplift in your spirits when one task is finished whereas unfinished tasks can loom over you like a black cloud. Relaxation or time out is important to relax the brain as well as the body. This is difficult especially if you feel 'you cannot spare the time,' but it is so important so cut out something less important for the time being, again it may only need to be a temporary measure.

Strange as it may sound if you are tired and stressed that exercise can actually improve the situation. Exercise helps release pent-up energy (try hitting a squash ball against a wall and let your imagination wander), it can also reduce tension and promote sleep, all beneficial in overcoming the problem.

Also try eating slowly, drinking less alcohol and listening rather than talking, and make sure that a lunch break is a break and not a time of the day that you catch up with another part of your job.

Additional Medical Conditions:

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