Stress and Anxiety
Let’s face it, stress is a part of everyday life. It is essential to keep us on our toes and gives us the drive to achieve success in whatever we do. We are all under stress to varying degrees, but the main issue is how we let it affect us. Because stress can be so detrimental to our health, we all need to know how to recognise its symptoms and protect ourselves from its effects.
If ever you wanted evidence of a link between the mind and the body, take a look at some of the symptoms of stress:
- Disturbed sleep and lethargy.
- Increased muscle tension leading to aches and pains.
- Nervous habits, such as nail biting, clenching fists, tapping feet.
- Increased consumption of cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, food and other emotional props.
- Altered sex drive and appetite
- Changes in mood, e.g. anger, depression, hostility, irritability.
- Increase in common illnesses, such as coughs and colds.
- Rashes, spots and skin complaints.
- Behaviour changes, e.g. emotional outbursts, talking loud and fast.
- Excessive worry about coming events.
- Dry mouth, sweaty hands etc.
- Panic attacks in its most extreme
It is known that the type of people who choose a career in healthcare tend to be the type of people who function at high stress levels normally (the so called Type A personality, which is almost always a differential diagnosis in chest pain CBLs by the way!) The sorts of stresses that student healthcare professionals are subjected to may at times be enough to have even the most laidback person tearing their hair out.
It is a well known fact that doctors have above average rates of alcoholism, divorce and suicide, so if you are prone to stress and want to avoid becoming part of somebody’s medical statistics thesis in later life, it is worth taking control of your own stress levels early on before they start to spiral out of control.
There are a number of ways you can do this, for example...
- Discover your own sources of stress and stress relief
- Take regular exercise (it doesn’t have to be kickboxing, sometimes a quick walk around the block is just as beneficial)
- Good time management will help, particularly before exams
- Relaxation and breathing exercises
- Self-hypnosis (The Clinical Hypnosis Textbook by Ursula James comes with a self-hypnosis CD and is good if you wind up doing a module in hypnosis later on...)