A lot of people don't understand the impact of stress until they suffer it themselves. They often think it is only people who aren't tough enough who suffer with stress. But stress can affect anyone, whether they have little experience in life or are are highly educated and experienced.

A lot of the time stress is a normal part of life. You have a test at school, you want to get into the sports team, your best friend is off with other friends, you have a deadline to meet, you have an interview for a job you really want, you aren't earning enough money, you're having arguments with your partner, your children are misbehaving or you have too much to do.

People are resilient and so usually find a way to deal with the stress and it goes away. It is when the problem doesn't go away that stress takes over and starts to affect your life in a deeper way. The stress could be caused by a situation in your life that is ongoing, such as a relationship problems, unpleasant conditions at work or money worries. You might be a natural worrier and so you spend most of your time thinking about all the things that could go wrong. You may have lots of things happening at once that overload you. It is on these occasions that you should look at the cause of the stress so that you can start to do something about it.

You could start by talking to someone else who has some time to listen. The old saying "a problem shared is a problem halved" can have a lot of truth. Another person has a different point of view, has different experiences and may be able to give you some ideas to help you change your situation. Simply talking can sometimes be enough to take away some of the stress because you have taken away the loneliness of the situation. It can help to put your life in context if you know that your sister who always seems to have such control over her life is having the same problem as you with her children or your friend is also worried about their work prospects.

At other times though you may need someone to do more than just talk, someone who can give you practical solutions to the problems that are stressing you. If you have money concerns then you are far better off talking to someone who can advise you and help you on a practical level than a friend who has the same problems. If you are not sure how to change your career then it is better to talk to an expert than to your mother who may try to encourage you by telling you that you will do anything well or may be worried about you so tells you that you shouldn't take any risks.

A lot of people suffer from ongoing low level stress which can be very tiring. People with low self esteem often continuously push themselves to prove their worth. Anxiety is another factor and can occur when people worry about their own abilities and effectiveness and about their and their family's safety. When there is ongoing stress any other stressors will have a bigger impact than on someone who doesn't have that ongoing stress. Using techniques to improve confidence and self esteem will help to address that underlying stress which means that other stressors will have less of an impact.

Rather than wait for stress to build up to a point wher it becomes a problem it is best to keep your stress levels down as much as possible. Make sure that you don't take on too much. Appreciate your abilities and don't repeatedly compare yourself unfavourably with others. Give yourself plenty of time to do things you enjoy. Spend time thinking about the enjoyable things in life. If there is anything that starts to feel uncomfortable in your life then do something about it at an early stage, don't let it build up into something that becomes difficult to deal with.