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What is Stress?

Stress is our body’s fight/flight reaction when we feel under pressure. For example, your teacher told you to prepare for a presentation in 2 days’ time. Upon hearing this, your body is likely to release a stress hormone, triggering a set of physical reactions such as sweating, increased heartbeat and muscle tension. Feeling stressed will help you be motivated and keep focusing on your preparations rather than opting to go have fun with your friends. 

Feeling stressed is perfectly normal, and it’s a part of life. However, there is a tipping point where good stress becomes bad stress.

What are the symptoms of stress?

Our body is not made to stay in the flight/flight state for long periods of time. This is because stress hormones inhibit certain systems, such as the digestive system, from normal functioning. Long periods of stress, or chronic stress, is therefore unhealthy for us and our body.

Common symptoms of chronic stress:

  • Feeling overwhelmed

  • Insomnia or sleepiness

  • Muscle tension, tight jaw and teeth-grinding

  • Unexplained pains e.g. headaches

  • Racing heart and sweaty palms

  • Changes in appetite

  • Difficulty concentrating and lack of motivation

  • Emotional withdrawal


Common causes of stress:

  • School demands

  • Negative thoughts

  • Puberty

  • Unsafe living environment/neighbourhood

  • Family financial problems

  • Moving or changing schools

  • Death of loved ones

How to differentiate stress from anxiety?

Stress and anxiety can feel similar, but there's one distinction between them.


Stress goes away once the situation is resolved meanwhile anxiety lingers on, giving you a constant feeling of dread even when the threat is no longer present.

How to cope with stress?

Things you can try to reduce stress levels:

  • Keep a journal

  • Utilise apps with relaxation exercises

  • Exercise and eat healthy

  • Get regular sleep

  • Avoid excess caffeine

  • Identify and challenge your negative thoughts

  • Reach out to your friends and family

In case of Emergencies

  • ​You are not alone, and help is available. You can feel better.

  • Emergency email:

  • Emergency hotline (1-767)

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