Coping with a stressful event

There are many events that can be categorised as stressful but stressful in a way that’s different from what we sometimes mean when we talk about being a bit stressed out, because of work or school stuff.

sunflowerExamples of these types of stressful events are being involved in or witnessing an accident, being a victim of or witnessing abuse or violence, or losing someone close to you. Any stressful event can have an influence on how you feel emotionally.

After a stressful event, it is normal to feel anxious, sad, to be afraid, or sometimes to feel a bit numb, and it can take time for you to adjust to a lifestyle you are comfortable with again.

If your experience causes you to have flashbacks of the event, have bad dreams, lose your appetite, lack sleep or become distant from day to day activities, you may want to consult your doctor or a counsellor. See face-to-face help for more information about what these people can do for you.

What can I do?

It’s important that you deal with the feelings and reactions you are having so that they don’t become overwhelming. Here are some things that might help:

  • Keeping a diary – write down your feelings,and anything else that you feel like writing about. It can be good to get everything out of your head on to a piece of paper even if you never read it again.
  • Talking to someone – sometimes bottling your thoughts inside you can get really overwhelming. Talk to a friend or family member about the event and what you’re feeling. It might also help to share your feelings with someone who was involved in the event.
  • Seeking help – your local doctor, clinical psychologist, counsellor or youth worker will be able to help you with strategies to cope with your feelings and reactions.

Comments Show all comments

  1. ReachOut says:

    Hi Ruth,

    We’re glad that the information here has helped you.

    Trust is really important when it comes to feeling comfortable to talk to someone, and to open up and share your thoughts and feelings. If you feel like you don’t have a friend you can trust, then maybe you could try talking to a family member or a teacher.

    It sometimes helps to talk to someone you don’t know, like a counsellor. Talking with a counsellor can leave you feeling listened to and less alone.

    You don’t have to try and cope on your own. If you ever feel like you have no one you can trust to talk to, remember that the Samaritans offer a confidential 24 hour email support for anyone in distress; email

    Take care,

  2. Ruth says:

    This has truly helped me,thanks alot.Have a question what if you don't have a true friend one in simple terms you don't trust anybody.

  3. Spiwe mapute says:

    Thank u so much 4 the teaching i have been helped

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