Luton Clinical Commissioning Group

NHS Luton Clinical Commissioning Group

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Stress Awareness

The importance of recognising stress - and seeking help

Acute Stress/pressure can be a positive and a motivating factor. Excessive pressure and chronic stress may lead to mental and physical ill-health, exacerbating and/or contributing to:



Some warning signs and symptoms

  • Feeling that you are merely trying to get through the day
  • Barely making it to the end of the week/exhaustion
  • Feeling that you are on the 'merry go round' of life and can't get off          
  • Feeling that you are falling behind and never catch up
  • That there's more to life
  • An inability to make decisions and feeling increasingly frustrated by this
  • Palpitations of the heart, a 'lump' in the throat or stomach, dry mouth and slight tremor of the hands
  • Always feeling that something needs to be done, and that you cannot simply sit and relax

 see stress busting website for further info:

The effects of chronic stress: Depression and anxiety


Is a condition that lasts for at least 2 weeks and affects the person physically, emotionally, cognitively and behaviorally. It interferes with the person's ability to carry out his or her work or to have satisfying personal relationships.

Emotions: Sadness, anxiety, guilt, anger, mood swings, lack of emotional responsiveness, helplessness and hopelessness.

Thoughts: Frequent self criticism, self blame, worrying, pessimism, impaired memory concentration with difficulty in making decisions.Thinking that others see you in a negative light. Thoughts of death and suicide

Behavior: Crying spells, withdrawal from others. Neglect of responsibilities, loss of interest in personal appearance. Loss of motivation.

Physical: Chronic fatigue, lack of energy, sleeping too much or too little. Overeating or loss of appetite, constipation, weight loss or gain. Irregular menstrual cycle, loss of libido, unexplained aches and pains. 


Is a general term for several disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension and worrying.These disorders affect how we feel and behave and they can manifest real physical symptoms. Mild anxiety is vague and unsettling, whilst severe anxiety can be extremely debilitating, having a serious impact on daily life.

Emotions: Tiredness, nightmares or bad dreams. Depersonalisation (feeling removed form oneself), derealisation (feeling as if in a nightmare or dream), mood swings, inability to love or care for others.

Thoughts: What if's, e.g.what if no one can cure me? Inappropriate thoughts about people they love, depressive thoughts. Conviction that they are the only ones suffering like this, anticipating the worst.

Behavior: Jumpy, irritable, withdrawal from situation known to have caused anxiety in the past, changes in sleep patterns, nervous habits e.g. foot tapping. Panic attacks.

Physical: Racing heart, dry mouth, difficulty breathing, muscle cramps, headaches, neck pain/migraines, dizziness, pins and needles, sweating. Chest Pains, nausea, stomach aches, pallor, trembling, sense of dread.

When you have a thought , you have a choice    

Positive thinking doesn't mean that you keep you head in the sand and ignore life's less pleasant situations. Positive thinking just means that you approach the unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way. You think the best is going to happen not the worst.

 Strategies and benefits of positive thinking

  • Trust yourself                                                             
  • Watch your thoughts and words
  • Let the past go
  • Don't let other people's attitude affect yours
  • Smile - You will live longer!

Characteristics of resilience

  • Awareness

  • An understanding that setbacks are part of life

  • An internal locus of control

  • Strong problem solving skills

  • Having strong social networks

  • Identifying as a survivor not a victim

  • Being able to ask for help

Will benefit you in several ways:

  • Lower rates of depression
  • Greater resistance to the common cold
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Better coping skills during hardship and times of stress


 Remember......Change won't happen overnight, positive thinking requires practice and focus. Positive thinking when stressed is a skill we may all learn with practice over time.


See additional websites for further info:

CBT web based free programmes for self directed support:

Feeling on the edge - helping you get through it

Feeling overwhelmed - helping you stay safe


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