What is stress?

Stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses. Stress is a normal part of life. You can experience stress from your environment, your body, and your thoughts. Even positive life changes such as a promotion, a mortgage, or the birth of a child produce stress.



Stress sets when a person faces continuous challenges without relief or relaxation between stressors.

Stress also occurs when people engage in the compulsive use of substances.

Stress can again be caused by positive life changes such as a promotion, a mortgage, or the birth of a child produce stress.


– Dizziness or a general feeling of “being out of it.”
– General aches and pains.
– Grinding of teeth
– Clenched jaw.
– Headaches.
– Indigestion or acid reflux symptoms.
– Increase in or loss of appetite
– Muscle tension in neck, face or shoulders.
– Problems sleeping
– Racing hear
– Cold and sweaty
– Tiredness
– Exhaustion
– Trembling/shaking
– Weight gain or loss
– Upset stomach
– Diarrhoea
– Sexual difficulties



Stress that continues without relief can lead to a condition called distress – a negative stress reaction.

Distress can disturb the body’s internal balance or equilibrium, leading to physical symptoms such as headaches, an upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, sexual dysfunction, and problems sleeping. Emotional problems can also result from distress.

Research suggests that stress also can bring on or worsen certain symptoms or diseases. Stress is linked to 6 of the leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide.



Keep a positive attitude

Accept that there are events that you cannot control.

Be assertive instead of aggressive. Assert your feelings, opinions, or beliefs instead of becoming angry, defensive, or passive.

Learn and practice relaxation techniques; try meditation, yoga, or tai-chi.

Exercise regularly. Your body can fight stress better when it is fit.

Eat healthy, well-balanced meals

Learn to manage your time more effectively.

Set limits appropriately and say no to requests that would create excessive stress in your life.

Make time for hobbies and interests.

Get enough rest and sleep. Your body needs time to recover from stressful events.

Don’t rely on alcohol, drugs, or compulsive behaviours to reduce stress.

Seek out social support. Spend enough time with those you love.

Seek treatment with a psychologist or other mental health professional trained in stress management or biofeedback techniques to learn more healthy ways of dealing with the stress in your life.