A resource to support good mental health and wellbeing for the people of Qatar
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Managing Stress

​​​​​​What is stress?  

Stress is common and is a response that anyone can have to an event or situation that causes pressure or worry.  From time to time we all say things like "this is stressful" or "I'm stressed".  

​“…life is causing l​ots of stress on people here…”

​Stress is generally associated with the changes and challenges that are part of life, although sometimes there is no obvious cause. Stress may be triggered by situations or events that put pressure on us – for example, times when we have lots to do and think about, or do not have much control over what happens. The most common situations that cause stress involve work, education, peer pressure, financial matters, family relationships, physical illness or major life events such as divorce, unemployment and bereavement.

​“life’s stressful moments might have pushed him more towards poor mental health…”  


Completely removing stress from life is unrealistic. Some stress can be positive and assist a person to be more alert, energized and motivated about achieving tasks both within work and in social life. When we feel stressed, our bodies release hormones called cortisol and adrenaline; chemical  reactions which respond to a threat and keep us safe. However, if we are under stress regularly or for a prolonged period, we are likely to be producing high levels of these hormones, which can lead to physical and emotional exhaustion and illness.​

What are the symptoms of stress? 
Stress affects everybody in different ways and symptoms may be physical, emotional or behavioral.    

Physical:  headaches, nausea or indigestion, lack of energy, faster breathing, increased perspiration, palpitations and/or muscle aches and pains.

Emotional Frequent changes in mood, feeling constantly under pressure or overwhelmed and feelings including worry, fear, anger, frustration and sadness.​


Behavioral: Becoming withdrawn or indecisive, finding it hard to relax or concentrate changes to sleep patterns, being irritable or tearful and/or verbal or physical aggression.

"Understanding our thoughts, beliefs and attitudes and how they affect our feelings and behavior can help us maintain good mental health.​" 
Could it be more than just stress?
It is important to note that many of the symptoms of stress are common to other health conditions. If a person struggles to manage stress and experiences some of these symptoms regularly or for a prolonged period, it may be an early sign of a common mental illness such as anxiety or depression. Learn more about the signs and symptoms of Depressionand ​Anxiety and seek advice from a trained health professional as early as possible if you are concerned. 
Stressful events that are outside the range of normal human experience, for example being abused or trauma, may lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, which requires specific treatment and support. 
Prolong​ed exposure to stress can increase the chances of developing a ph​ysical or mental health condition – that is why learning about ways to manage stress is so important. 

​It is important for everyone to know their own stress limits and to have effective strategies to manage and reduce stress. Take control of your stress and improve your mental wellbeing with these tips:​

1. Taking care of our health 
2. Managing external pressures to minimize the occurrence of stressful situations
  • Setting priorities and manage time well 
  • Identifying the source of your stress and, if possible, avoiding or removing it  
  • Planning major changes in life, such as moving house or changing jobs, to a time when we feel well and do not have too many other commitments 
  • Learn how to share our feelings so that we can resolve personal conflicts as they come up, as ongoing stress in personal relationships may contribute to symptoms of depression ​and anxiety.  
  • Take control of our personal commitments by avoiding long working hours and other responsibilities. This can be difficult, but small changes can make a difference​ 
  • Knowing our own limits so we do not overload ourselves with tasks, new commitments or responsibilities. Learn to say 'no' so we do not become overwhelmed by our commitments​ 

“I tried to ignore my symptoms, but when they made me very stressed, I couldn't bear them anymore.”  

​​​3. Learn tools to de-stress, especially during challenging times 

  • Having fun and doing pleasurable things that we enjoy on a regular basis 
  • Spending time socializing with family and friends 
  • Stress management techniques, mindfulness, relaxation and spiritual practice can be beneficial for coping with difficult situations and maintaining a positive outlook. Learn some techniques  
  • Taking a 5-minute break and focus on some deep breathing helps eliminate the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure  
  • Talking to a friend, family mem​ber, health professional, spiritual leader or someone else we trust can help to relieve stress 
  • Seeking professional help if stress is overwhelming and prolonged, or if stress management tips are not reducing stress levels. Talking to a counsellor or psychologist can help find ways to resolve personal stresses and problems. ​ (Services in Qatar)  

"I see that, nowadays, people are doing more about their mental health… if I'm too stressed, on the weekend I will do something to relieve m​y nerves…"​ ​​​​​​​​​​