What is emotional stress?

emotional stress

Stress is a normal reaction to the pressures of everyday life. Worry, fear, anger, sadness, and other emotions are all normal emotional responses. They are all part of life. However, if the stress that underlies these emotions interferes with your ability to do the things you want or need to do, this stress has become unhealthy.

What are the warning signs and symptoms of emotional stress?

Symptoms of emotional stress can be both physical, mental, and behavioural.

Physical symptoms include:

• Heaviness in your chest, increased heart rate, or chest pain.
• Shoulder, neck, or back pain; general body aches and pains.
• Headaches.
• Grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw.
• Shortness of breath.
• Dizziness.
• Feeling tired, anxious, depressed.
• Losing or gaining weight; changes in your eating habits.
• Sleeping more or less than usual.
• Gastrointestinal problems include upset stomach, diarrhea, or constipation.
• Sexual difficulties.

Mental or behavioural symptoms include:

• Being more emotional than usual.
• Feeling overwhelmed or on edge.
• Trouble keeping track of things or remembering.
• Difficulty making decisions, solving problems, concentrating, getting your work done.

How can I better cope with emotional stress?

Many techniques can be tried to help you better manage your emotional stress. Try one or more of the following:
Take some time to relax: Take some time to care for yourself. Even if you can devote only five to 15 minutes a few times a day to relax, take a break from reality. What activity helps you relax? 

Some ideas include:

• Read a book.
• Download and listen to a “calm” app (sounds of nature, rain) on your computer or phone.
• Take a walk. Practice yoga.
• Listen to music, sing along to a song, or dance to music.
• Enjoy a soothing bath.
• Sit in silence with your eyes closed.
• Light a scented candle.

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