Stress primarily means struggle or burden. When we talk about stress or refer to ourselves as stressed, we also mean the reactions that those stresses produce in us. These can be physical or psychological. Physical signs of stress are:

  • Sweating attacks
  • Palpitations (often associated with feelings of panic)
  • A lack of appetite and indigestion (sensation of pressure in the abdomen, constipation/diarrhoea)
  • Muscles tension, headache
  • Breathing problems
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Sexual dysfunction, and others.

Sometimes such reactions to acute highly stressful events make sense, if the stressful event lasts only a brief while and requires intense concentration. By releasing stress hormones, the body attempts to respond to the challenge in a concentrated form. If it does not succeed in this without the affected person becoming ill, we talk about an acute or chronic adjustment disorder.

On the psychological side, stress is often expressed as feelings of exhaustion and mental overload, tenseness, mood swings, irritability, panic attacks, and feelings of constriction, and can lead to depression.

Stress often arises as a result of workplace issues or relationship problems. Stress can be acute (short-term) or can last over a longer time period (chronic). If the stress levels are too high or reactions extreme, an acute or chronic adjustment disorder may be present. And all this already describes the the most important antidote to stress: coping mechanisms, for which we need to take recourse to our own internal resources. Recognizing these and activating them is an important element in combating stress successfully. Some examples of resources against stress:

  • Take some time out and gain distance
  •  Persons such as family, friends
  •  Professional help in the form of doctors, psychologists
  •  Assessing a job or relationship; expectations should not be set too high (especially expectations of oneself)
  •  Developing perspectives on how the situation might be changed.

Some people succeed in activating such resources for themselves, whereas other may benefit from a structured programme or conversations/discussions. Your doctor, with or without health coaching training, is a valuable point of contact for you, if you want to improve your wellbeing and stress levels