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Commonly known as: tense, anxious, not coping, pressure


Explore stress by scrolling through the page or simply select an option from the drop down if you wish to jump to the relevant section of the page:

What is stress?

Everyone experiences stress; it is a normal response to situations that we find threatening, different or when we are in a situation in which we feel we have little control over. We all feel stress differently.

The physical changes that take place when we feel stressed are our body’s way of protecting us from what we are finding stressful. Sometimes our physical response to stress can be helpful and can motivate us to deal with things in our daily life, such as deliver a speech or take an exam. Our stress levels usually go back to normal very quickly after the stressful event is over.

Low levels of stress can be helpful or motivational. However, too much stress can negatively affect our mood, our body and our relationships. Too much stress can leave us feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope. And if we are experiencing too much stress over a long period of time it can affect our physical and mental health.

Common causes of stress include

  • Financial worries
  • Work
  • Relationship problems
  • Health issues
  • Sudden changes to routine
  • Problems with housing including moving
  • Having a baby

Symptoms of stress

  • Feeling tired or fidgety or both at the same time
  • Racing heart, sense that it is banging in our chest
  • Stomach cramps
  • Feeling like you need to go to the bathroom
  • Headaches
  • Feeling irritable
  • Overeating or avoiding food
  • Poor concentration or racing thoughts, unable to “switch off”
  • Increase in drinking alcohol and/or smoking

Self-help advice to manage stress

If stress is affecting your life in a negative way there are things you try to help yourself.

  • Talk to someone: a family member or a friend.
  • Think about the things that cause you stress, and if and how you could change/manage these. Try one of our free self-help courses or resources to help you find ways to manage your stress.
  • Challenge your thinking. Try to understand why you are feeling stressed and challenge those thoughts. To learn skills on how to challenge your thinking try one of the courses below. Think about the positive things in your life, each day try to consider 3 things that have gone well.
  • Practice self-care – see our section on looking after yourself. Many people find that being active is great for helping to manage stress.
  • However, if feel you need help with dealing with your stress, support is available – visit our section on Helplines for more information.


If you need further help managing stress

If the information, advice, resources and courses on this page have not been helpful and/or you think you need more help, there are many free support services available.

If you live in the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board area, and are aged over 18, you can make an appointment with a Psychological Health Practitioner (PHP) or GP by contacting your local GP surgery. PHPs are NHS mental health practitioners who provide a free service for people experiencing mild to moderate mental health problems.

If you are under 18 or worried about someone aged under 18 and need advice/self-referral to local mental health and wellbeing services in the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board area, contact SPACE-Wellbeing.

Or alternatively contact another approved helpline. Some services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Last updated: 25.09.2023

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Self-help resources to help manage stress

Browse our free self-help resources for stress, approved by mental health experts.

Type Title Related to… Provider
Apps (iOS) Apps (iOS)

Stress and Anxiety Companion App: Uses proven psychological approaches to manage stress and anxiety at work (iOS)

Anxiety, Depression, Men's Mental Health, Stress

Companion Apps

Apps (Android) Apps (Android)

Stress and Anxiety Companion App: Uses proven psychological approaches to manage stress and anxiety at work (Android)

Anxiety, Depression, Men's Mental Health, Stress

Companion Apps

Reading Reading

Stress – NHS Self-help Guide

Anxiety, Mindfulness, Stress mind
Reading Reading

How to relax – NHS Easy Read Guide

Anxiety, Stress mind
Websites Websites

Young Person’s Mental Health Toolkit – Anxiety

Anxiety, Children's Mental Wellbeing, Social Anxiety, Students' Mental Health, Young Person's Mental Health mind
Reading Reading

Reading Well – Free Books for Mental Health from your Local Library

Anger, Anxiety, Depression, Grief and Bereavement, Low Mood, Mindfulness, Self-Care, Self-Esteem, Self-Harm, Sleep, Social Anxiety, Stress mind
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One Minute Breathing Exercise to Ease Anxiety | Sea Waves | Melo Cymru Wales

Mindful 3 Step Breathing Space | Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

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Helplines providing information and advice about reducing and managing stress

See below for helplines relevant to stress. To see our full list of helplines, visit our helplines page.

CALL Mental Health Listening Line Logo

C.A.L.L. Mental Health Listening Line

Community Advice & Listening Line

Provides a confidential mental health listening and emotional support line which is open 24/7. CALL can also signpost to support in local communities and a range of online information.

Visit the CALL website ➝
Childline Logo

Childline – for children and young people under 19

Childline is here to help anyone under 19 in the UK with any issue they’re going through. You can talk about anything. Whether it’s something big or small, our trained counsellors are here to support you.

Get help and advice about a wide range of issues, call us, talk to a counsellor online, send Childline an email or post on the message boards.

Call on 0800 1111 – the number will not show up on your phone bill. Support can be accessed online here by making an account.

Support available 24/7. BSL available Mon-Fri 8am-8pm and Sat 8am-1pm. Welsh speaker available on request, appointment will be scheduled.

Visit the Childline website ➝
Meic Logo


Meic is the helpline service for children and young people up to the age of 25 in Wales. From finding out what’s going on in your local area to help dealing with a tricky situation, Meic will listen even when no-one else will. We won’t judge you and will help by giving you information, useful advice and the support you need to make a change.

Our helplines are open 8am – Midnight

Visit the Meic website ➝


Text Shout to 85258 – Shout is the UK’s first 24/7 text servicefree on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere.

It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help.

Shout is powered by a team of volunteers, who are at the heart of the service. We take people from crisis to calm every single day.

Visit the Shout website ➝
Showing 4 out of 5 results View all

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