BDVG Reg Charity No:  1085073   

Pathways Support Centre

Promoting your emotional well being

Understanding Stress

Stress is the word that many people use when they are describing how the demands of their life seem to become too great for them to cope with.  This ability to cope varies from person to person and what one person finds stressful may not be a problem for another.  Whilst many of us suffer with stress at times in our day to day lives, long term stress is known to be bad for our health and many of us would like to find ways to gain some control over it.

Can life events cause stress?

Some things that happen in your life can be stressful, particularly life changes.  If you have had one or more of the following life events occurring over the last year you will probably be more likely to be stressed and should take care to avoid further stressors.  Try to take extra care of yourself!

Death of someone close to you                                   Relationship problems

Money worries                                                             Study stress

Disagreement with friends                                         Arguments at home

Pregnancy                                                                   Parents splitting up

Major changes in your life, i.e. starting college      Victim or assault or crime

Worries about sexual identity                                  Health problems

Family gatherings – wedding, holidays etc               Change in leisure activities

How can I help myself to cope with stress?

Studies have told us that the first step in tackling stress is to become aware that it is a problem for you.  The next stage is to make a plan to take control of the causes and effects of stress.  Here are some practical ways to take control of stress.



Holiday from the things that bother you for a while, take some time out, see some friends.  Do something you enjoy, have a change of surroundings.


Open up.  Communication is very important, bottling things up is never helpful.  Talk to someone you trust.


Work – or college can be very stressful at times.  If you are having difficulties don’t put things off, speak to your manager or tutor.


Try to concentrate on the present, deal with the things you needs to do that day, make a list and tick things off as you achieve them.  Don’t dwell on the past or future worriesm.  Don’t dwell on the past or future worries


Own up to yourself that you are feeling stressed – half the battle is admitting it!


Be realistic about what you can achieve.  Don’t take too much on.


Eat a balanced diet.  Eat slowly and sit down, allowing at least half an hour for each meal.


ction plans – try to write down the problems in your life that may be causing stress, and as many possible solutions as your can.  Make a plan to deal with each problem.


Time management – plan your time, doing one thing at a time and building in breaks.  Don’t make too many changes at once in your life.


Set priorities – if you could only do one thing, what would it be?  Do that one thing and then move on to the next task when you have completed it.


Talk things over with a friend or family member or someone else you can trust and share your feelings with.


Relaxation or leisure time each day is important.  Try new ways to relax such as aromatherapy, yoga or tai chi.  Relaxation exercises are described more fully below.


Exercise regularly, at lease 20 minutes 2 or 3 times a week.  Go to the gym or take a walk, do exercise that you enjoy.  This is excellent for stress control.


Say no and don’t feel guilty


Seek professional help if you have tried these things and still find your stress is a problem.