Stress is an expected response to challenging or dangerous situations. A small amount of stress can be a good thing and increase energy and motivation. But if the stress becomes greater than our ability to cope, it can affect quality of life and cause problems with physical and mental health.
Everyone encounters stressful situations at times, and there are several different ways to deal with stress. Also, stress affects everyone differently so a good first step in managing stress is to become aware of how it affects you. It's helpful to learn more about the causes and symptoms of stress.
- Identify early warning signs: Learn to notice the signs in your body that indicate stress is becoming a problem. This can include muscle tension, headaches, poor sleep or being irritable.
- Identify your triggers: A situation that causes one person to become over-stressed may not be a problem for another. It can help to write a list of the situations that tend to affect you.
Stress management can involve:
- changing the circumstances that are causing you stress.
- using relaxation and other techniques to reduce the effects of stress
Not sure what to do next?
If you or someone you know is finding it difficult to manage mental health issues, try healthdirect’s Symptom checker and get advice on when to seek professional help.
The Symptom checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self-care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).
Last reviewed: February 2017