Stress is what you feel when you must handle more than you are used to. Everyone feels it differently. Although stress happens first in the mind, it has strong effects on the body.

When you are stressed, your body responds as though you are in danger. It makes hormones that speed up your heart, make you breathe faster, and give you a burst of energy. This is called the fight-or-flight stress response.

Sometimes stress is just too much to handle alone. Talking to a friend or family member may help, but you may also want to see a counsellor.

It is normal to add stress in your life without even realizing it.

Some common stressors include:

Work – If your part-time job is too much to handle, you may want to think about reducing your hours or quitting.

Relationship – such as having problems with your relationships or feeling a lack of friendships or support in your life.

Financial – job loss, debt, unexpected expenses, or a combination of things.

Nutrition –what you eat can impact how you feel.

Family – such as having a child, or other family member who is under stress, or being a caregiver to a family member who is elderly or who has health problems

Conflicts with your beliefs and values – for example, you may value family life, but you may not be able to spend as much time with your family as you want.

Emotional problems – such as anger you can’t express, depression, grief, guilt, or low self-esteem.

Stress is a fact of life. No one can eliminate all stress from their life or prevent stress from happening in the future. The goal of stress management is to bounce back from problems or challenges and maintain balance. In order to cope effectively with stress, you need to recognize stress and know how you respond to it.
• Identify the problem. Once you know what the problem is you can do something about it;
• Solve problems as they come up. Once you decide on a solution divide the steps into manageable pieces;
• Talk about your problem with a trusted friend, family member or health care provider;
• Simplify your life. Learn to say NO;
• Learn helpful thinking strategies. The way you think about situations affects how you respond to them;
• Learn about stress management. See a counsellor, take an education session, read a self-help book;
• Start on the inside. Practice yoga, breathing exercises, meditation
• Get Active. Physical activity helps reduce stress; and
• Do something you enjoy. Make time for yourself, find a hobby or sport and do something that is fun that makes you laugh.

Top 10 Emergency Stress Stoppers:
• Count to 10 before you speak or react.
• Take a few slow, deep breaths until you feel your body un-clench a bit.
• Go for a walk, even if it’s just to the restroom and back. It can give you a chance to think things through.
• Try a quick meditation or prayer to get some perspective.
• If it’s not urgent, sleep on it and respond tomorrow. This works especially well for stressful emails and social media trolls.
• Walk away from the situation for a while and handle it later once things have calmed down.
• Break down big problems into smaller parts. Take one step at a time.
• Turn on some chill music or an inspirational podcast to help you deal with road rage.
• Take a break to pet the dog, hug a loved one or do something to help someone else.
• Work out or do something active. Exercise is a great antidote for stress

Stress is a normal physical reaction. Good stress is what motivates you to focus on a task or take action. It helps you achieve balance in all the responsibilities in your life. Good stress is manageable and often helpful.

Bad stress is when stress is unhelpful. It may cause you to feel out of control. It makes you feel overwhelmed, have difficulty concentrating, find it hard to make decisions or find solutions to problems. Bad stress can cause damage to your physical and mental health, your productivity, relationships and quality of life.