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Life stressors

Everyday there can be things that happen (or not) that can impact on our lives. Within this section we try to cover some of life's concerns. These are all things that can cause stress and anxiety or can lead to our wellbeing being directly affected. It's worth remembering that one thing happening, such as an isolated incident like losing your job, can be really stressful. Attached to that are so many worries including money concerns that can, for example, then lead to sleep problems and lower self-esteem. Therefore, although these life concerns are listed separately it is necessary to remember that often they can lead on to other concerns. It is the moment when things become too much when we have to be brave and ask for help.

Anger

Human beings can sometimes feel angry - it is a natural response in the same way as feeling sad or happy. It is a response to being attacked, deceived, frustrated or insulted. Anger though can be frightening.

If something has made you feel angry then your body enters what is know as 'fight or flight'.  If we think back to when humans were cavemen then our body responds to perceived threats - anger is an energy and tension which has to be released from adrenaline which your body creates as a natural response to that reaction or response inside.

Being angry is not a problem but how you deal with it can be.  If you harm someone or express your anger in a threatening way or inappropriately then it can damage your health and relationships.

If we are angry and do not express it appropriately then we may bottle up feelings which can impact in the longer term.  For example, refusing to speak to someone who has said things that have annoyed you does not deal with the anger as you have not let it go - holding it inside may make the anger out of control. 

Think of whether it is helpful to let your anger build to such an extent that you may take out your rage on objects or hit people.  During that moment of rage you may have no control over your actions and afterwards may face consequences such as shame and a situation which is scary for you - you may have damaged a relationship rather than resolve a situation calmly.

Finding a way to express how you feel there and then in a non-threatening way and in a way which is safe and not damaging (physically and mentally) is a better option, without consequences that may directly impact on your wellbeing or the wellbeing of an individual or witnessed or experienced your anger.

Check out the support sources below for further information on anger and to learn skills to cope with it.

Domestic violence and anger

If uncontrolled anger leads to domestic violence (or threatening behavior) there are places which can offer help and support.  You can talk to your GP or contact Women's Aid or you can phone the local office on 01595 692070 during office hours.  The domestic abuse helpline number is 0800 027 1234.

Men can also be victims of domestic violence or abuse.  Help is available from Mankind on 01823 334 244.

Bereavement

Visit our Bereavement Section for further information.

Bullying

Anyone who thinks that bullying stops the day you leave school needs to re-think that view. Shetland is a small community and for some bullying is very much part of everyday life. Bullying is never acceptable - for children and young people or grown ups.

The way that bullying happens for adults may be different to what we perceive to be the 'norm' for young people.  Sadly that does not take away from the impact it can and does have.  Ultimately, bullying is about power over another person.  Victims of bullying are often left feeling humiliated and vulnerable.

There are several different types of adult bullies, and it helps to know how they operate:

  1. Narcissistic Adult Bully: This type of adult bully is self-centered and does not share empathy with others. Additionally, there is little anxiety about consequences. He or she seems to feel good about him or herself, but in reality has a brittle narcissism that requires putting others down.
  2. Impulsive Adult Bully: Adult bullies in this category are more spontaneous and plan their bullying out less. Even if consequences are likely, this adult bully has a hard time restraining his or her behavior. In some cases, this type of bullying may be unintentional, resulting in periods of stress, or when the bully is actually upset or concerned about something unconnected with the victim.
  3. Physical Bully: While adult bullying rarely turns to physical confrontation, there are, nonetheless, bullies that use physicality. In some cases, the adult bully may not actually physically harm the victim, but may use the threat of harm, or physical domination through looming. Additionally, a physical bully may damage or steal a victim's property, rather than physically confronting the victim.
  4. Verbal Adult Bully: Words can be quite damaging. Adult bullies who use this type of tactic may start rumors about the victim, or use sarcastic or demeaning language to dominate or humiliate another person. This subtle type of bullying also has the advantage - to the bully - of being difficult to document. However, the emotional and psychological impacts of verbal bullying can be felt quite keenly and can result in reduced job performance and even depression.
  5. Secondary Adult Bully: This is someone who does not initiate the bullying, but joins in so that he or she does not actually become a victim down the road. Secondary bullies may feel bad about what they are doing, but are more concerned about protecting themselves.

Bullying can occur anywhere.  It may be a one-off incident or ongoing.  If you are a victim of bullying it can directly impact on your mental health and wellbeing and you may feel powerless in being able to make the situation stop or to find a resolution.

What can I do about it?

Firstly, if you are being bullied we want to make clear that there is help and advice available.  It is difficult to admit to anyone that you being bullied but taking the first step is important.  Your options depend on how and where the bullying is happening - what is important is to talk with someone you trust.  Be it a friend, colleague or family member.  Having someone to talk to about how it has impacted on you will help.

After telling someone you trust and if you know that the person who bullies you picks certain times or situations to victimise you, then ask that person to be cloe by so they can witness it occuring.  If you are not on your own a bully will be less likely to target you too.

Be aware of and monitor your stress levels. Ask family, friends and doctor to help as appropriate.  You can also read our information on stress here.  If you feel it is directly affecting your wellbeing then please make an appointment with your local GP.

If the bullying has happened at work then speak to your supervisor or Welfare Officer (within larger organisations such as the SIC).  Ask to see your companies bullying and harrassment policy and request a private and confidential meeting to discuss your concerns.  Avoid having one-to-one meetings with the bully if you have already complained about the bullying.

If you have experienced bullying online then remember (regardless of the social media platform) that you can report offensive/bullying comments or references to the online provider.

Bullying can be prejudice based (e.g. racism, homophobia, etc).  Please note if the behaviours you experience are putting you in danger then we would advise you to contact the Police on 111.

If you are a young person wanting to find out more about bullying please visit our young people's section.

Employment

Maybe you are in a job that everyday makes you wonder why you applied for it in the first place or you are wondering about changing your job for a new challenge. Maybe you are facing redundancy or have been unemployed. Here we will look at some options for you.

Being in a job can help with financial income, stability, confidence, self-esteem, your sense of identity and social support.  Often, we may moan about our job (especially on a Monday morning), but it is part of our lives and often there are no major issues attached.

However, if you are in a job which you really do not enjoy or feel causes too much stress or you would like to just have a change then it can be difficult to find a way out.  We might be in a job that asks us (all to often) to go beyond what you initially signed up for or needs you to be away from home and family too much.

It's okay to say you want a change.  Change is healthy but it is also scary.  Admitting that you are unhappy in your job or that you would like a new experience is the first part.  Just acknowledging that can make you feel better.

It's really important to discuss your concerns about your current post with your welfare officer or supervisor to discuss if there are changes that could be made to your existing job.

Making a plan and working hard at making it reality is all the easier and can help your mood feel a lot lighter if you are being pro-active about your identified problem.  It may that you decide to stay on at your job and learn a new skill to enable you to have a career change or that you see a job that really interests you and are brave and apply. 

Mind have created a really good booklet which provides information for employers (but is also interesting for employees to look at) on how to promote wellbeing and tackle the causes of work related mental health problems.  You can access the resource here.

Self esteem

Self esteem is our ability to value ourselves. It relates to the opinions we hold about ourselves. This is important because your thoughts and perceptions of yourself affect the way in which you feel and behave.

It is a basic human need in all of us to feel wanted, loved and valued. If these needs are met we will usually develop a positive sense of self, however if we have too many negative thoughts about ourselves it can affect our functioning and we may not be able to reach our full potential. Negative life events such as health issues, relationship problems, trouble at work or coping with loss can evoke feelings of rejection. For some people this will be temporary but for others this can have a longer lasting effect.

How low self esteem can effect us:

Emotions - you may feel depressed, hurt, angry, frustrated, anxious, ashamed, guilty.

Thoughts - negative, self critical thoughts such as I'm not good enough, I'm stupid or its my fault.

Behaviors - always trying to please others, getting defensive when we believe we're being criticised, under-achieving or working harder to compensate or cover up our 'incompetence', avoiding certain situations and people, being shy or passive around others, neglecting or abusing ourselves.

In reality we are all different. You may be good at some things and not as good at others. There may be some things we work to change about ourselves but other things which we are accepting of and are proud of.

Suggestions to help improve your self esteem

  • Do something you enjoy doing.
  • Learn a new skill, this can help you develop a sense of achievement.
  • Eating well and exercising can help you to look and feel good. This can help in making you feel more confident about your own body.
  • Take time to look after your physical appearance.
  • Remember to treat yourself. Reward yourself for the things you have achieved and give yourself praise for the good things you do.
  • Nobody is perfect. If you do need help with something don't be afraid to ask for it.
  • Spend time with people who make you feel good. Avoid those people who make you feel bad about yourself.
  • Make an effort to interact with other people. Say hello, pay compliments, start conversations

Sleep

We have all had times when we may struggle sleeping. Maybe we have a stressful job interview the next day, are worried about a loved one or or we just can't seem to get our brain to switch off. We can find ourselves staring at ceiling, having a disturbed sleep and feeling really tired the next day.

Often, we might have one restless night and that will settle down into our normal sleep pattern after a short period of time.  It is a very different scenario though if it lasts for weeks, months or event years.  The impacts then can reverberate throughout your day to day life - affecting energy levels, mood and concentrations.

If poor sleep is having a significant impact on your daily life, you will generally be considered to have a sleep problem. The most common sleep problems are listed below.

  • Insomnia - you may have difficulty falling asleep or getting back to sleep if you wake up through the night.  Sleeping may not refresh you (disturbed sleep or sleeping light) and you may feel constantly tired
  • Oversleeping - that is if you sleep more than what your body needs
  • Nightmares - frightening and intense dreams which when you wake can leave you feeling very scared
  • Sleep walking - when you get up or move around through the night.  It can disrupt your sleep and affect how rested you feel the next day

In the first instance, if you are concerned about your sleep patterns then you should make an appointment with your GP.  We have also detailed place where you can access more advice and information in support sources below.

Other support for life stresses

There may be other things that can happen which we have not directly covered already. Within this section we have support sources for money worries, gambling addiction, relationship advice and help plus other local services which may be of interest.

If there is a topic we have not covered which you think we should then please contact us.



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