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What is stress?

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

Today, many young people commonly experience feelings of anxiety, stress and depression. How to recognise and deal with these issues is an important step towards maintaining a healthy mind.

What is stress?

Stress is the feeling of being under too much pressure, feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope with the pressures of work/life/relationships.

What causes stress?

There are many causes of stress. Some of the causes could include:

  • stress at school/work - about grades or relationships or meeting deadlines

  • financial pressures

  • emotional trauma - like bereavement

  • experiencing a serious medical illness

  • going to university

  • moving house

What are the physical, emotional and social consequences of stress?

Physical consequences of stress may include:

  • The person may experience shallow breathing

  • The person may feel tired all the time

  • The person may begin grinding their teeth at night

  • The person may experience headaches more often.

  • The person may begin to struggle with high blood pressure

  • The person may begin to get indigestion problems.

  • The person may feel dizzy or faint at times.

Emotional consequences of stress may include:

The person may:

  • feel irritable as they feel people do not understand.

  • feel overburdened as there is too much to deal with.

  • have racing thoughts as there are too many things to think about.

  • feel anxious and not good enough as they know they cannot cope.

  • feel afraid that they may mess up and let people down.

  • become depressed as they have become so unhappy.

  • find it difficult to make decisions as they do not want the responsibility of making the wrong decision.

Social consequences of stress may include:

  • Avoiding situations that are troubling the person as they know they will not like it.

  • The person may snap at people as they have become impatient with other people.

  • They may begin to bite their nails, even in the company of other people.

  • They may begin picking their skin, even when chatting to other people.

  • They may find it difficult to concentrate and follow conversations with other people.

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