Stress Management

Everyone experiences stress differently.

But when the stress you are experiencing makes you feel overwhelmed or affects your health, happiness and ability to cope, it’s time to learn how to cope more effectively.

What is the difference between “good” stress and “bad” stress?

Stress is a normal physical reaction. Good stress is what motivates you to focus on a task or take action. It helps you achieve balance in all the responsibilities in your life. Good stress is manageable and often helpful.

Bad stress is when stress is unhelpful. It may cause you to feel out of control. It makes you feel overwhelmed, have difficulty concentrating, find it hard to make decisions or find solutions to problems. Bad stress can cause damage to your physical and mental health, your productivity, relationships and quality of life.

How does stress affect my health?

Stress can affect your health in several ways. Common health complaints include:

  • headaches,
  • stomach aches,
  • difficulty sleeping, and
  • muscle tension.

Unresolved stress can become chronic and lead to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, mental illness (depression), or affect your immune system.

Some of the unhealthy reactions or unhealthy ways to cope with stress include:

  • over eating or poor diet,
  • smoking,
  • excessive use of alcohol or drugs,
  • an increase in caffeine, and
  • self-injury or self-harm behaviour.

What are stressors?

Stressors are stress-provoking situations. Stressors include life events such as: a new job, grief and loss, a new baby, marriage, moving, or retirement, as well as our daily routine events, like traffic, work pressures, or family responsibilities.

What can I do about stress?

Stress is a fact of life. No one can eliminate all stress from their life or prevent stress from happening in the future. The goal of stress management is to bounce back from problems or challenges and maintain balance.

In order to cope effectively with stress you need to recognize stress and know how you respond to it.

  • Identify the problem. Once you know what the problem is, you can do something about it.
  • Solve problems as they come up. Once you decide on a solution divide the steps into manageable pieces.
  • Talk about your problem with a trusted friend, family member or health-care provider.
  • Simplify your life. Learn to say NO.
  • Learn helpful thinking strategies. The way you think about situations affects how you respond to them.
  • Learn about stress management. See a counsellor, take an education session, read a self-help book.
  • Start on the inside. Practice yoga, breathing exercises, and/or meditation.
  • Get Active. Physical activity helps reduce stress.
  • Do something you enjoy. Make time for yourself, find a hobby or sport and do something that is fun that makes you laugh.

Services related to this information:

  • Doorways: rapid ‘one session at a time’ counselling services.
  • Bridge the gapp
    Newfoundland and Labrador’s ‘go-to’ website for mental health information. Bridge the gapp offers self-help resources, links to local services, and invites people to share their personal stories. Bridge the gapp is free of cost and available to every resident in the province. The site is divided into adult and youth sections, however many services are appropriate for both.
  • Strongest Families Children and Youth Programs
    Free skill-based educational programs for children, youth, adults, and families seeking help to improve mental health and well-being.
  • Mental health and addictions services
  • Contact your Public Health Nurse
  • Contact your physician/nurse practitioner
  • 811 HealthLine (Newfoundland & Labrador) – Call 811 or 1-888-709-2929 / TTY 1-888-709-3555
    • 811 is free and confidential. 811 is available 24/7 and can provide support with mental health and addictions issues and more.
    • Services formerly offered by the Provincial Mental Health Crisis Line are now offered by 811. Call 811 to speak with a registered nurse who is also a trained crisis intervener.
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Last updated: 2022-01-13