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Overcoming Stress

Everybody has it, and everybody talks about it, but nobody really knows what stress is. WHY? It is because stress means different thing for each of us, and is also different for each of us.

Manage your stress and become more productive rather than self-destructive.

Stress is a part of modern living. It is unavoidable. To your body, stress is equivalent to CHANGE. Anything that causes a change in your life causes stress. Change can be real or imagined (or what we typically call "worrying"). Both these types of change can be equally stressful.

Stress serves a purpose when it provides us with the motivation to scale new challenges or overcome difficulties. Stress only becomes harmful when it is not proportionate to the severity of the situation, and when it interferes with the physical, work and social aspects of our daily lives.



Anybody who experiences changes in his or her life i.e., practically everybody. Some groups of people are more susceptible to stress than others. For example, healthcare professionals, pilots, fire fighters, customer service officers, stockbrokers, teachers, students etc....

Stress can occur anytime. There are certain periods when we are more susceptible to stress, for example during exanm periods, festive seasons, when someone in the family is ill, and during crisis and emergencies.

Symptoms / What to expect

  • Physical: 
    • Aches & pains
    • Headaches
    • Fatigue/Lethargy
    • Palpitation
    • Stomach upsets
    • Dizziness
    • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Emotional: 
    • Anxious/Worry
    • Tensed
    • Irritable/Jumpy
    • Depressed/Moody
    • Feeling overwhelmed
    • Restless
  • Cognitive: 
    • Forgetfulness
    • Poor concentration
    • Mental block
    • Difficulty in organizing & making decisions
  • Behavioural: 
    • Sleep problems
    • Crying
    • Poor appetite
    • Falling ill- cold, coughs
    • Withdrawal
    • Smoking/Drinking excessively


External Sources:

  • Personal issues
  • Work problems
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Pressures of studies
  • Health problems
  • Financial crisis
  • Unemployment
  • Losses e.g. bereavement
  • Unexpected news
  • Daily hassles

Internal Sources:

  • Thinking styles
    • Negativity: "I'm useless, a loser, a failure."
    • Suspicion: "Why are they so nice to me?"
  • Social Skills
  • Shy, unassertive
  • Aggressive, bossy
  • Personality type

Type A: Hostile, impatient, multi-task all the time, always on the go, competitive, overly responsible
Type B: Laid back, introspective, calm, easy-going,
Type C: Calm on the outside; agitated inside, often suppress and don't express feelings.

Treatment / Help available

As stress is an inevitable part of our lives, it is necessary to arm ourselves with the necessary skills to counter stress. Let's look at the 8 steps to "de-stress":-

  • Know Oneself
    Self-awareness, recognition and acceptance of ourselves are important for stress management. We need to know what are the things that can make us tick and react to stress.
  • Renew (Re-Programme) Your Mind
    Being able to recognize and change our negative thinking styles would alter our feelings and eventually actions, towards external and internal sources of stress.
  • Seek Balance and Flexibility
    Stress can come about as a result of a sense of loss and insecurity. To balance, be more flexible in matching your response to the context and situation.
  • Have Goals, Dreams & Passion
    Goals provide us with a sense of direction and perspective. With a clear focus and passion, we feel a greater sense of control and purpose in life.
  • Get Supporters
    We are social beings and we function with others. We do best when we are surrounded by supportive family or friends. They provide us with the assurance and validation that we need in the midst of a stressful situation.
  • Get a Higher Frame of Reference
    We can also receive assurance and hope from our spiritual beliefs. Many studies have confirmed the benefits of having strong faith as a powerful stress-buffer, enhancing our ability to cope with life's more serious stresses.
  • Look After Your Body
    A healthy body is a natural defense against stress. Eating and sleeping well ensures better health and a sense of well-being. Regular exercise helps to build physical and mental strength against stress.
  • Use Stress-Coping Strategies
    It is important to have good and effective outlets and coping strategies. Poor coping strategies will worsen stress. Some examples of effective coping strategies are:
    • Engage in activities you enjoy
    • Practice relaxation techniques
    • Talk to someone you trust
    • Engage in physical exercises
    • Prioritize tasks accordingly
    • Love oneself
    • Seek professional help
    • In a nutshell, the 3A's of Effective Stress Management are :
      • Awareness - look out for the signs of stress
      • Analyse - determine the source of your stress
      • Apply - use strategies to help you cope better with stress

Remember: Work on a plan; then the plan will work for you!

Where To Seek Help?

There are various hotlines available to the general public.

• SOS: 1800-221 4444

• Care Corner Mandarin Hotline: 1800-353 5800

• Parentline: 6289 8811  

Professional Consultation Is Also Accessible At: 

Clinic  Appointment No.   Address  

IMH Specialist Outpatient Clinics

6389 2200

Click here for locations

Care Corner Mandarin Counselling Centre


Block 62B
Lorong 4 Toa Payoh
Singapore 312062

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