What Is Stress and How Can I Deal With It?

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Most of us will feel stressed at some point. It might only be every once in a while, but for some, it can be a daily feeling. Some people even find stress helpful or motivating. For most, however, it is a troubling feeling and at times hard to know how to get out of it. Here we will discuss what stress is, and some tips on things you can do to help relieve that feeling with stress management.

What Is Stress?

We all know what it is like to feel stressed, but it is hard to explain exactly what stress means. Regularly we will find ourselves saying “This is stressful” or “I’m stressed”, and when we say these things we might be referring to situations or events that put pressure on us. This could be when we have a lot to think about, or events where we aren’t in control. We might also be referring to our reaction to being placed under pressure, such as when a demand is placed upon us that we are struggling to deal with. There is no medical definition for stress, so it can be hard to understand if stress is the cause or the result of the problem. We are all aware that being under pressure is a normal part of life, but for some people, it can become such an overwhelming feeling. Stress can also be linked to mental health in two important ways:

1 It can cause mental health problems or make existing ones worse. If you struggle to deal with feelings of stress you could then develop anxiety or depression.

2 Mental health problems can cause stress. Some people might find that trying to manage their day to day symptoms of their mental health then causes them to feel stressed.

Symptoms of Stress

Stress can present itself in lots of different ways. It might affect how you feel physically, mentally or in the way you behave. It can be hard to see that the reason you are feeling or acting differently is because of stress.


  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Dizziness or headaches
  • Fast heartbeat or chest pain
  • Stomach issues



  • Being irritable or snappy
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Sleep problems
  • Smoking or drinking more
  • Avoiding certain places or people

How Can I Deal With Stress?

Be active. Exercise won’t make your stress disappear but it will help to reduce some of the emotional intensity you are feeling by clearing your thoughts.

Have some ‘me time’. Set aside a couple of times a week where you focus on yourself. Don’t feel guilty for putting yourself first and do something that you enjoy.

Connect with people. Talk to your friends and family about how you are feeling. If you are really finding it hard to manage your feelings of stress then speak to a health care professional.

Take control. Plan ahead for stressful days or events so that you know what is happening. Making lists can be really useful so that you feel like you are a little more in control.

Avoid unhealthy habits. Try to refrain from using alcohol, smoking or caffeine as your way of coping. It might provide you relief in the short term, but it will not address the issues.

Try to be positive. Try using some calming breathing exercises or mindfulness exercises to look for the positives in life and things you are grateful for. (mindfulness course Oxford)

All clinicians at Oxford CBT practice Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or are Psychologists, providing evidence-based interventions and support for a range of issues for both young people and adults. If you would like to book an appointment you can do so on our online booking portal. If you have a question please get in touch via our online contact form or call us on 01865 920077.


Stress Awareness Month 2022 

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