01 – Introduction to Stress

Stress is generally a response to an inappropriate level of pressure: it may, for example, be triggered by not having enough to do, as well as having too much to do.

Stress triggers several hormonal responses within the body, including your ‘flight/fight’ or adrenaline response. This is fine if you need to run away fast from a wolf, for example, but it’s not so great if you need to have a calm and effective meeting with your boss. It also has an effect on how you react to other people, and therefore your interpersonal relationships.

It is important to learn to recognise your stress triggers, and find effective ways to manage your stress to avoid it negatively affecting your life, or even making you unwell.


The ‘Stress and Stress Management’ section of Skills You Need is split into four main areas which will help you to better understand stress and its relationship with you and others:

02 – Taking Control:
Avoiding and Managing Stress

One of the most stressful issues of all is a sense that you are losing control.

It is therefore important to take control of your stress levels, and put in place an active system to manage them.

Avoiding Stress provides more detailed information about some ways that you can avoid and reduce the stress in your life. It also gives you some ideas about approaches to relaxation and self-help therapy.

Stress is often closely linked to diet. A good diet can help you to manage stress better, and a bad diet can often exacerbate problems. For more about this, see our page on Stress, Nutrition and Diet.

Finally, certain times of the year and events can also be more stressful. Family get-togethers, for example, can sometimes be characterised by a certain amount of tension. Christmas is often particularly fraught, thanks to a combination of expectations, tiredness, and the season itself.

03 – Relaxation Techniques

Our page on Relaxation Techniques introduces some ideas about how to relax, and some tips for learning to relax which incldes:

  • Mindfulness, about living in the moment, and appreciating it to the full;
  • Aromatherapy, the effect of scent and smell on state of mind;
  • Music Therapy, of the effect of sound. This is not to be confused with the work of professional music therapists who use music and instruments to help people express emotions;
  • Self-hypnosis, a simple technique to enable you to step away from your stress and feel more relaxed; and
  • Laughter as Therapy, an excellent way to help you relax