Why am i always stressed

Get help with stress - NHS

Most people feel stressed sometimes and some people find stress helpful or even motivating. But if stress is affecting your life, there are things you can try that may help.

Support is also available if you're finding it hard to cope with stress.

Symptoms of stress

Stress can cause many different symptoms. It might affect how you feel physically, mentally and also how you behave.

It's not always easy to recognise when stress is the reason you're feeling or acting differently.

Physical symptoms
  • headaches or dizziness
  • muscle tension or pain
  • stomach problems
  • chest pain or a faster heartbeat
  • sexual problems
Mental symptoms
  • difficulty concentrating
  • struggling to make decisions
  • feeling overwhelmed
  • constantly worrying
  • being forgetful
Changes in behaviour
  • being irritable and snappy
  • sleeping too much or too little
  • eating too much or too little
  • avoiding certain places or people
  • drinking or smoking more


If you're not sure how you feel, try our mood self-assessment.

Things you can try to help with stress


  • try talking about your feelings to a friend, family member or health professional. You could also contact Samaritans, call: 116 123 or email: [email protected] if you need someone to talk to

  • find out more about 10 stress busters – including getting started with exercise and setting aside time for yourself

  • use easy time-management techniques to help you take control

  • use calming breathing exercises

  • plan ahead for stressful days or events – planning long journeys or making a list of things to remember can really help

  • consider peer support, where people use their experiences to help each other. Find out more about peer support on the Mind website

  • listen to free mental wellbeing audio guides


  • do not try to do everything at once – set small targets you can easily achieve

  • do not focus on the things you cannot change – focus your time and energy into helping yourself feel better

  • try not to tell yourself that you're alone – most people feel stressed at some point in their life and support is available

  • try not to use alcohol, cigarettes, gambling or drugs to relieve stress – these can all contribute to poor mental health


Further information and support

The mental health charity Mind offers more information on:

  • dealing with pressure
  • developing emotional resilience to help you adapt and bounce back during difficult times

Your Mind Plan on the Every Mind Matters website sends personalised tips and advice to your email inbox.

Where to get NHS help for stress

Referring yourself for therapy

If you need more support, you can get free psychological therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) on the NHS.

You can refer yourself directly to an NHS psychological therapies service (IAPT) without a referral from a GP.

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • you're struggling to cope with stress
  • things you're trying yourself are not helping
  • you would prefer to get a referral from a GP

Urgent advice: Call 111 or ask for an urgent GP appointment if:

  • you need help urgently, but it's not an emergency

111 can tell you the right place to get help if you need to see someone. Go to 111.nhs.uk or call: 111.

Immediate action required: Call 999 or go to A&E now if:

  • you or someone you know needs immediate help
  • you have seriously harmed yourself – for example, by taking a drug overdose

A mental health emergency should be taken as seriously as a medical emergency.

Find your nearest A&E

Causes of stress

Stress is usually a reaction to mental or emotional pressure. It's often related to feeling like you're losing control over something, but sometimes there's no obvious cause.

When you're feeling anxious or scared, your body releases stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.

This can be helpful for some people and stress might help you get things done or feel more motivated.

But it might also cause physical symptoms such as a faster heartbeat or sweating. If you're stressed all the time it can become a problem.

Identifying the cause

If you know what's causing your stress it might be easier to find ways to manage it.

Some examples of things that may cause stress include:

  • work – feeling pressure at work, unemployment or retirement
  • family – relationship difficulties, divorce or caring for someone
  • financial problems – unexpected bills or borrowing money
  • health – illness, injury or losing someone (bereavement)

Even significant life events such as buying a house, having a baby or planning a wedding could lead to feelings of stress.

You might find it hard to explain to people why you feel this way, but talking to someone could help you find a solution.

Find out about the 5 steps to mental wellbeing.

Page last reviewed: 15 October 2019
Next review due: 15 October 2022

Why Am I Stressed and Anxious All the Time?

Source: Wstockstudio/Adobe Stock

The ongoing pandemic has been a source of enormous stress and anxiety for all of us. But anxiety was on the rise long before any of us had heard of COVID-19. Diagnoses like generalized anxiety disorder were increasingly common, especially among younger people, as were depression and suicide.

The most recent poll by the American Psychological Association found the average person believes they experience an unhealthy level of stress. My own practice reflects these trends, as stress and anxiety are the leading issues for which people come to me for help. (For help with managing stress and anxiety, see this free guide.)

What is behind these trends toward greater anxiety and stress? I recently spoke with psychologists Anthony Rao and Paul Napper, who explore these issues in their book, The Power of Agency. They noted that our lives have changed profoundly and our biology is struggling to keep up.

“Humans haven’t evolved much genetically over the last 200 years,” said Napper, “but if you think about how people lived 200 years ago versus how we live today, it’s really shocking.” As a result, there’s a stark mismatch between how we were designed and what’s demanded of us. “There’s a struggle to adapt to such a different reality,” Napper said.

Napper and Rao identified the following eight factors that are contributing to a “constant buzz of anxiety” and the feeling that we’re not doing enough:

1. Loss of Control

Overwhelming demands have led many of us to "experience a breakdown in feeling a sense of control over our lives,” said Napper. “I’m hearing more frequent complaints about feeling overwhelmed even among high-functioning business leaders, who are struggling to manage themselves and make good quality decisions.”

Rao echoed those observations among the kids he sees in his clinic. “More and more over the years they just seem kind of frozen,” he said. “And it seems to be a sense of overwhelm—these moments when young people get disconnected from their critical thinking and feel incredibly helpless.”

Napper and Rao attribute these feelings of helplessness and being overwhelmed to a loss of agency. As they state in their book, “Lack of agency often involves experiencing considerable doubt about your proper place in the world. People describe a sense of going through the motions without a true direction or confidence in their future.”

2. Digital Deluge

Technological innovations have completely shifted our daily experience. “There’s a stunning amount of messaging coming at us on an average day,” said Napper, “and we’re constantly consuming digital information.” Our minds weren’t made to process a continuous stream of input. “It’s actually cognitively overwhelming,” Napper said, “and people are confused.”

He also noted that we’re being subtly manipulated by our digital devices in ways we’re not aware of. “People message us constantly to try to get us to do things and influence us, whether it’s to buy something or vote in a particular way,” he said.

We’re even more susceptible to these messaging effects when we’re constantly glued to our screens. “The digital devices we have in front of us every day have been engineered to keep us on them as much as possible,” Rao noted. “We’re so used to holding them and looking at them and working on them and finding each other on them, that if you have a moment disconnected from them, the brain may be signaling very strongly to go reach for it.”

I can relate to that experience, where any moment of downtime can immediately be filled by digital distraction. A major cost, Rao said, is never being able to “cleanse your mental palette. People are just reflexively reaching, unconsciously, for their devices.”

The effects of social media are most pronounced for young people, especially once they enter middle school. “Intense and often toxic social comparisons are filling their minds,” said Rao. “They’re telling themselves things like, ‘I can’t keep enough, I’m not enough, I’ve got to do better, everyone else seems so much better off, happier, better looking than I am.” These forces likely play a role in the rising incidence of anxiety and depression among youths.

3. Less Human Contact

Digital connection is taking the place of actual human connection (even before the pandemic-related social distancing). “Much of our human contact is now filtered through various forms of media,” said Napper—social media, video conferencing, email. While you may not be aware of it, your mind and spirit crave three-dimensional interactions with other people.

4. Sedentary Lifestyle

We’re also moving less than ever, which hurts us not only physically but mentally and emotionally. Consistent movement is one of the most effective ways to lower stress and anxiety, and it also helps with sleep and mood. But we often spend entire days sitting, thanks in large part to technology. “When people are on digital devices, they tend to be sedentary,” said Napper.

5. Less Outdoor Time

“The other big issue is less outdoor time,” said Napper, since being on our phones usually means we’re cooped up inside. As a result, we miss out on the benefits of the great outdoors. (See Why Are Gardens So Good for the Soul?)

6. No Escape from Work

“There’s no real division” between work and the rest of life, said Napper. “People used to go to work from nine to five and then have the rest of their time off to focus on other things. Now they’re thinking about work pretty much all the time—weekends, evenings. They’re working 24/7.”

7. Economic Anxiety

Changes in the economy have led to greater uncertainty about our financial future—well before the massive slowdown related to the coronavirus pandemic. “The economy has changed dramatically over the last 30 years,” said Napper, “with jobs disappearing and new jobs showing up in new fields.”


Productivity Obsession

Many of these factors have led to an “obsession with productivity,” according to Napper and Rao. Since we can work all the time, we feel like we should work all the time—especially when our work productivity may be tracked with “fine-tuned metrics,” said Napper. And the more we stay on the treadmill of constant work, the less we’re able to ask ourselves if the way we’re living is serving us.

It’s hard to step out of this mode when busyness is seen as the new normal. “If I’m trying to get on top of my life and adapt to this set of conditions that surround me, and I’m looking to my right and my left to see what other people are doing, I’ll see they're all kind of driving themselves crazy doing tons of things,” said Napper. Seeing what others are doing reinforces our belief that we can never take a break.

This obsession with productivity is even infecting school-aged kids. “Children are working harder and harder, and they have less and less free time,” said Rao. “The demands on them start very early—to produce and to get on a track and be measured. I’ve watched that push its way down to younger and younger ages, and now even first and second graders have caught this.”

How to Help Yourself

There’s no quick fix for this complex mix of forces that are “contributing to people feeling overwhelmed and stressed out,” say Napper and Rao. “People are trying to make their lives better, but there’s no template—we haven’t done this before.”

But if you’re feeling stress and anxiety, there are simple ways to start reclaiming agency in your life. Consider doing one or two of the following, starting today:

  • Reduce your screen time. Remove time-sucking social media apps from your phone, for example, and designate screen-free zones like mealtime and the bedroom.
  • Move more. Stand up and walk around for a couple of minutes once or twice an hour. Even a little bit of movement is better than being completely sedentary for hours on end.
  • Maximize outdoor time. Being in nature tends to calm the nervous system. Make it a goal to be outside as much as possible today. Find any excuse to step outside, even for a few seconds. Go for a short walk. Open the mail outside. Dine al fresco. Take in your surroundings—the sky, the light, the plants, and birds. Feel your spirit connect with the natural world. (Adapted from The CBT Deck for Anxiety, Rumination, & Worry.)
  • Give yourself a break. Constant productivity doesn’t end up being very productive, as your energy and enthusiasm drop. Set aside work-free times and focus on other things, like loved ones and favorite hobbies.
  • Choose analog connection over digital. Redirect time you were spending on screens to actual human interaction—hanging out with your kids, taking a walk with a friend, sharing a cup of tea with your partner.

These kinds of small actions can have a big impact over time. As you find more mental space and clarity, you'll be in a better position to design your life in a way that supports your well-being.

The full conversation with Paul Napper and Anthony Rao is available here.

Facebook/LinkedIn image: kittirat roekburi/Shutterstock

Chronic stress: how to detect, manage and prevent


© becca tapert/unsplash

Author Irina Rudevich

06 February 2019

Chronic stress leads to a burnout syndrome, a decrease in the physical and psychological capabilities of the body. We figure out if you have signs of stress, how to get rid of it, prevent it from appearing in the future and enjoy life.

© anthony tran/unsplash

According to VTsIOM, one third of Russians blame problems at work and stress, which is the body's physical and psychological reaction to negative events, for feeling unwell and getting sick. It is expressed in increased heart rate and respiration, the release of stress hormones: cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine. Short-term stress passes quickly, after which the body recovers and returns to its normal rhythm. Chronic can last for days, months and even years, at this time cortisol is constantly at a high level, a person is overcome by causeless fears and anxieties.

Advertising on RBC www.adv.rbc.ru

A 2018 study found that stress exacerbates physical illness.

Getting rid of chronic stress, you can improve your mood and well-being, improve sleep patterns and nutrition.

If you feel like a threat is coming, and this condition lasts for several weeks, this is an occasion to reconsider your lifestyle and consult a therapist, without waiting for the physical manifestations of chronic stress. The exceptions are cases when the nervous state is justified by real events: you got a new job, you are going through a move, divorce or loss of a loved one, you are preparing for important exams. Ask yourself questions: “What is the reason for my fear?”, “Are there any rational explanations for this state?”. If it is a matter of real temporary difficulties, you should be more careful about your mental state and try to survive them with the least loss to health, and then see if negative feelings remain.

If you have identified signs of chronic stress that do not go away for a long time, try to determine its source. Nervous work, unpleasant surroundings, excessive fatigue can be causes that need to be dealt with, sometimes radically. It is necessary to act according to the situation: lay soundproofing on the wall with noisy neighbors, limit communication with negative people or change jobs - all means are good in the fight for your health. If there are no obvious reasons or you cannot identify them, contact a psychotherapist to identify hidden factors.

If symptoms flare up, use simple methods to relieve stress instantly: breathe, walk, listen to music. Such therapy in the long term will help reduce the frequency of unpleasant experiences if you have already eliminated the root cause of the discomfort. Control and encourage the development of good habits: sleep for seven to eight hours a night and move more, start meditating and playing sports. Food also helps to cope with stress, but this desire is important to track and seize stress correctly: add magnesium and vitamins to the diet, healthy complex carbohydrates and exclude simple sugars.

© simon maage/unsplash

Neuroendocrinologist Robert Sapolsky argues that the hierarchical system has a bad effect on the body, and the level of happiness and self-esteem of a person are important factors in reducing stress. The scientist conducted a study on baboons, which proved that monkeys with a lower status in the hierarchy of the flock had more stress hormones in the blood and increased blood pressure more often. Therefore, it is especially important to feel in your place in a team, with friends or at work. Seek support from loved ones: when a person feels that he is understood, cortisol levels decrease. In addition, loneliness promotes reflection and enhances reactions to unpleasant events. The opposite effect, according to psychologists, is hostility towards the whole world around us, when the brain receives less positive reinforcement. This principle is based on psychological support groups in the fight against stress, the effectiveness of which is determined by the social needs of a person.

Psychologist David D. Burns in Feeling Good. The New Mood Therapy advises you to control the amount of time we spend venting negative emotions. These should be periods of no more than 50 minutes each when you can get angry, cry, grieve, scream or complain. In the intervals between them, you need to focus as much as possible on positive emotions and situations. The main thing is not to start negative states and track positive changes. A great mindfulness practice is to create daily checklists: they write down the main tasks that you consider important. It can be as much as half an hour for reading, or an hour for a relaxed rest and talking on the phone with friends. It is important that as a result of daily repetition of correctly coordinated good habits, you feel a boost of strength and a sense of gratitude.

Tags: Stress

5 Proven Ways to Beat Chronic Stress

Article Contents

Chronic stress damages areas of the prefrontal cortex that are responsible for emotional state and behavior. It becomes difficult for a person to reduce negative emotions on his own, he sees the world only in gray colors. All events at work or in personal life cause panic, anxiety and depression, the state of a person is gradually approaching emotional and professional burnout. If you are faced with chronic stress, then you urgently need to restore internal balance. We have prepared 6 proven ways from our free online stress management course to help you increase your stress tolerance.

Step 1 - switch to another activity (games, walking, simple tasks)

If you feel that a wave of strong negative emotions will overwhelm you right now, then at this moment you need to calm yourself down. This requires a lot of effort, especially under chronic stress. Therefore, it is necessary to develop self-control and willpower, but this is in the long term. In an emergency, playing games on the phone, a quick walk in the fresh air will help to distract. If you can't leave your workplace, then start doing simple tasks that will help you get rid of thoughts.

Step 2 - do not overwork yourself to reduce stress hormones

When a person is under stress, various hormones begin to be released in the body, one of them is cortisol. In moderation, cortisol is good for a person, but excessive levels can lead to depression. Cortisol can be produced just from thinking about chronic stress. The more you wind yourself up, the more you fall into a stressful state. Many mistakenly think that just relaxing on the couch in front of the TV can reduce stress, but this will only make matters worse. It is important to distract yourself from internal experiences and switch your thoughts.

Step 3 - Activate the Mind to Suppress Emotions

Once you have worked through your emotions, you need to get your brain active and engage in rational thinking. There are several ways to do this:

  • Jogging or light exercise. Only light physical activity will help to cope with stress. It is important that you have a desire to play sports. Exhausting workouts, on the contrary, can harm you even more.
  • Proper nutrition. Give up sugary and fatty, consume as many calories as your body needs.
  • Training. Do not let your brain get bored and distracted by experiences. Take various courses, watch webinars, develop yourself.

Step 4 - Reduce inflammation in the body

Studies have shown that stress causes chronic inflammation in the body. Stress, depression and inflammation are in a strong bond, provoking the appearance of each other. Therefore, it is necessary to start treating inflammation in the body in order to reduce long-term stress. Or, conversely, work on two problems at once.

Step 5 - enjoy life to overcome stress

During prolonged stress, you do not want to do anything, even do what you love.

Learn more