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Understanding Stress

We all experience stress in our lives. We all know what it feels like. It happens when the demands of life feel particularly challenging or overwhelming.  It can a shortlived reaction to a particular pressure, event or situation or it can be prolonged, building up and continuing over time. 

We all cope differently with stress and what is stressful for one person is not for another. But how we react to stress and manage it in our lives is key to our mental health.  And while stress is a part of everyday life, prolonged stress is bad for our health, both physically and mentally.  So, it's a good idea to learn more about it and how to manage stress in our lives.

Good Stress or Bad Stress?

Some stress can be good. It can be a good motivator for getting things done. But how quickly we recover from it is what's important to our health and wellbeing.  Learning to manage it and building resilience against stress and anxiety is key to our mental health.

Know the Signs

If you are concerned about stress, are any of these SIGNS familiar?

Physical Signs

  • Tension.
  • Headaches.
  • Stomach upset, nausea or vomiting.
  • Sleeplessness or drowsiness.

Emotional Signs

  • Worry 
  • Lack of patience, 
  • Nervousness 
  • Loss of concentration 
  • Feeling of isolation 
  • Procrastination 
  • Frustration  

Behavioural Signs

  • Mood swings 
  • Loss of appetite or over-eating 
  • Suicidal thoughts 
  • Self-harm or thoughts of self-harm. 

If you recognise these signs in yourself or in another person, following our links below to find out how to manage stress in your life. 

If you are in need of urgent assistance: 

  • Call a helpline:  
    • Samaritans 24/7 on Freephone 116123 
    • Pieta 24/7 1800 247 247 
  • Text 50808 for free 24/7 Crisis Text Support 
  • Click here for a list of specialist support services 
  • In the event of an emergency, call 999 or 112 
  • GP: Talk to your GP to find a therapy that suits you. 

Reach out for help or access Support Services 

We should never be afraid to ask for the help that we deserve.  When we are stressed, sometimes speaking with a close friend or confidante can be all we need to get ourselves back on track.  There are also voluntary and professional services that have the expertise to help you manage your stress or anxiety. 

Talking through concerns with someone who understands can be very reassuring and can help in learning new coping skills. It’s good to know you’re not alone and that other people have felt the same as you do but have got through it. 

Check out our Give Help & Get Help sections for tips on managing stress. Keep helpline numbers handy. Some key support services for stress are listed below. But as all sorts of issues can contribute to stress, see our comprehensive list of Specialist Support services which can be accessed here.

 Aware logo

Providing online, telephone & face to face support and assistance to all affected by depression & bipolar disorder. Phone-in and Zoom peer groups provide support for anxiety, mild to moderate depression, bipolar disorder or other related mood conditions. Support & self-care groups take place daily.Support Line Helpline (Freephone): 1800 80 48 48 (10am-10pm daily)

Providing fast and easy access to counselling and psychotherapyface to face and online. MyMind work to deliver affordable counselling with a sliding pay scale according to client. Also, for those directly affected by Covid-19, MyMind are now also delivering FREE online counselling appointments all over Ireland. For more information CLICK HERE .  

pieta house

Free 24 Hour Support service with therapeutic approach for people in suicidal distress, who engage in self-harm, are particularly low or who are bereaved by suicide. See website for branches.Freephone 24 hour Helpline: 1800 247 247

text 50808

Text About It is a confidential text messaging support service that provides immediate support for anyone going through a mental health or emotional crisis – big or small.  Crisis volunteers are available 24/7 for anonymous text conversations and the service is free across all networks. Text About It is ideal if you rather text than speak to someone face to face or by phone. If the short code doesn't work on your network (An Post/48), you can still use the service by texting HELLO to 0861800280. Standard network message rates may apply to this 086 number. 

  • Available every day 24 hours a day.
  • Text HELLO to 50808 to start the conversation or text HELLO to 0861800280
  • 50808 Service is Free
  • Standard message rates apply to 086 1800280 number only.
  • Website:

Online mental health community providing support groups, peer support and one to one online counselling.  Turn2me provide 6 free counselling sessions to anyone over 18 years living in Ireland. Website is a good resource of information on mental health issues. Contact: via form on the websiteWeb: 

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