How can I stop being so stressed?

I've always been an easy-going person, never easily flustered and always calm. But for the last year I've noticed a change in myself. These days I find myself becoming easily stressed and flustered. If something doesn't work out as planned or expected it stresses me out and makes me angry. I now find important decision-making extremely difficult, especially lately, when I’ve had to make choices about colleges I might want to go to. Leaving school, the parties and all that, is supposed to be an enjoyable experience but I'm too stressed to even think about enjoying it all. I wish I could calm myself down more. I don't want to become frustrated by simple things. Is there any way I can get back to my old easy-going self?

It sounds like the last year has been quite turbulent for you. It must be difficult to come to terms with these changes in your reactions to things, particularly when it’s affecting your ability to make decisions about things and to enjoy yourself.

Everyone feels anxious some of the time, especially when stressful things are happening. But feelings of anxiety and stress can be hard to handle, especially when they are a constant part of your life. Many people suffer from stress and related anxieties, so do be assured that you are not alone.

As stress can be a result of pressures in a particular area of someone’s life, tackling the causes of this pressure could help relieve the feelings. Choosing colleges and courses can be a time-consuming, pressured and complicated process but it sounds as though you were feeling stressed out and flustered before then. Maybe something else has happened to trigger the feelings you describe? Many things can have an effect on stress levels, for example relationships or the pressure of schoolwork, so it might be worth thinking about these issues individually. But it can be hard to know what’s causing feelings of anxiety because sometimes there is no obvious reason.

Sometimes it can help to talk about your feelings with close friends. Discussing things can help you think calmly about decisions you have to make. Other people may have ideas or opinions that you wouldn’t have thought of on your own. This may help ease your worry about some of the little things you feel so concerned about.

Some people find simple relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and taking time out for themselves very helpful.

If your feelings persist or if you feel you need some further guidance or support, it might be worth considering making an appointment with your local doctor (GP).

Your GP will be able to assess your situation and feelings and provide you with further options. If it is a form of anxiety you are experiencing, it can be treated with medication and talking therapies. Medication typically prescribed includes antidepressants, usually combined with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

But if you’d prefer to talk to someone you don’t know you can call Supportline on 01708 765200, it’s a confidential counselling helpline offering emotional support to any individual on any issue. And Youth2Youth provide a helpline (020 8896 3675) offering similar support and understanding, only it’s run by young people for young people. They also offer email support.

Answered by SANE on 30-Oct-2013

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