Dealing with stress

What is stress?

Stress is a normal part of life and something that we all experience. Stress involves having to respond to some kind of pressure. Dealing with new challenges can often trigger stress, but most people get better at managing stress as they go through life.

It is helpful to think about stress as healthy or unhealthy.

Healthy stress

Stress in small doses can actually be helpful. It can keep us motivated and focused, it can prompt us to take action, such as gathering more information, reaching out for support and assistance, or prioritising how we use our time.

Unhealthy stress

Stress can become unhealthy when it interferes with our quality of life. No one enjoys experiencing unhealthy levels of stress. People experiencing unhealthy stress often feel overwhelmed. Managing our stress levels starts with being able to identify how stress affects us. Common signs of stress include:

Physical Signs
  • Feeling restless and agitated
  • Interrupted sleep
  • Muscle tension and headaches
  • NauseaIncreased blood pressure
  • Changes in appetite
  • Rashes or skin breakouts
  • Chest pains
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Cognitive and emotional signs
  • Increase in worry, anxiety, or depression
  • Interrupted sleep
  • Irritability, being short-tempered
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Feeling like you can’t cope
Behavioural signs
  • Procrastination
  • Increase in alcohol or drug use
  • Less productive at home or work
  • Relationship strain
Triggers of stress
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Taking a "brain break"
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Self-care planning
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The stress bucket

Looking for more support?

We recommend you consult with your GP, who can discuss local support or treatment options with you. They can prepare a Mental Health Care Plan, which will enable you to access treatment services with a psychologist or psychiatrist through Medicare, or a referral to local Community Mental Health Services. Your GP can also provide a physical check-up, if you haven’t had one recently. Your physical health can affect your emotional wellbeing.

If you don’t have one already, you can find a GP in your local area at Beyond Blue.

Another option is online treatment. The MindSpot Clinic offers free online and telephone delivered treatments which help people manage their symptoms stress, anxiety, low mood and depression.