Sudden changes in life circumstances can create a stressful situation. The experience of stress is influenced by the relationship between the situation and the assessment of one's own capacity to control the situation. If we judge that our capabilities are not sufficient, we feel it as a distress. But not all stress is negative, there is also so-called positive stress, which increases our work motivation, forces us into creativity and efficiency. A stressful situation can also save our lives by allowing us a quick, instinctive reaction. Stress can also be induced by excessive boredom.
The situation is not always as negative as we estimate it. Our experience is the result of our interpretation of what is happening. The feeling of stress is most importantly influenced by our assessment, which is highly subjective. Therefore, people can react very differently in similar situations. This is due to different life experiences that have shaped the pathways in our brains. Don't be too hard on yourself, don't judge yourself or compare yourself to others!
Physical signs of stress are fast heartbeat, shortness of breath, digestive problems, back pain, sleeping disorders, and frequent respiratory infections. We can also feel inner tension, nervousness, problems with concentration, sadness and depression, insecurity, loss of our sense of humour. When a person is coping with stress, we can notice it through his behaviour - biting nails, shouting, crying, cursing, overeating, pushing people away…
It is important not to suppress our feelings. We need to recognize them and try to be as aware of them as possible. It is also important that we learn how to manage our emotional and physical responses. We can learn calming down techniques , which helps us to handle the stress. That helps us to reduce the strength and intensity of our stress.
What can you do to help yourself?
First you need to try to calm down, and then get to know your own experiencing of stress.
Breathing and stretching exercises
Take a deep breath, exhale. Breathe, stand upright and straight. Ask yourself: “What is going on with me, how do I feel? What kind of thoughts are in my head?"
Accept your feelings as they are. They are a part of you. Observe them, stay with them for a few moments, even if it is uncomfortable.
Turn your attention back to breathing. Commit to each inhalation and exhalation. Be fully present, breathing helps you to stay in the present moment and feel safe.
After a few moments, bring your awareness to your body and posture. Observe how your breath feels in your nose, your lungs, your stomach. Imagine the oxygen flowing through your body, reaching every single cell. Breathe.
How do you experience stress?
Take a piece of paper and answer the questions. If you are familiar with your stress, you can take away its power. Being aware of your responses can help you to determine whether the current situation is stressful for you. And when you do find yourself in a stressful situation, you can recognize it and make a change or find some support and help.
- How do you feel the stress arising in your body?
- What kind of thoughts emerge when you are stressed?
- How do you feel? How would you describe your emotions?
- How do you react?
- How does stress affect your relationships with your loved ones?
- How do you manage to calm down, do you remember some good experiences from the past?
What to do if you did not get suitable help for your current distress on this website?
You can contact your scout leader or anyone you trust to help you find a solution. You can write to us and we will find the best approach for your distress together: firstname.lastname@example.org
If your distress is very intense, and you have no one to contact, you can call Slovenian Scouting Commissioner: +386 51 364 251.
You can consult your personal physician as well.
Please seek further help on following numbers (Slovenian lines, but your country probably has similar lines too - search in the web):
112 / 911 - Urgent medical help
116 123 - Confidential Line "Samaritan"
116 111 - TOM Line for kids and youngsters
+386 1 520 99 00 - Mental distress line
+386 31 233 211 - Woman advisory and crisis centre (24h/day)
And remember: you're not alone. Talk about your distress, because that's the only way you can get needed support and help!