What is Stress?

Stress can lurk in all aspects of our lives whether that be in response to personal or professional pressures, or sometimes a combination of both.

“Stress is how we react when we feel under pressure or threatened. It usually happens when we are in a situation that we don’t feel we can manage or control”. (Mind, 2024).

Positive Stress

Small amounts of stress can help to motivate us to, for example, meet a deadline or target. Psychiatry UK (2021) highlighted that some stress is good as it can assist us in various ways by motivating us into action, which can result in:

  • New experiences.
  • The ability to socialise more.
  • Learning something new.
  • Pushing you outside your comfort zone.

Being in the legal profession, positive stress is useful for meeting the various deadlines and targets we encounter and for providing a good client experience by meeting client needs and expectations.

There are many different life events that can be classed as a positive stress including:

  • Moving house.
  • Starting a family.
  • Getting married.
  • Achieving a promotion in work.
  • Change in job role.
  • Starting a new school.

Although the above are positive changes, they are still big changes to experience, which can therefore result in stress and pressure.

Negative Stress

Stress can be problematic when it is intense or long lasting, as this is when it is likely to affect both physical and mental health, potentially resulting in the below signs and symptoms. The cause of stress can be difficult to identify as it may be a build up of different things or may be in response to a big or isolated event/situation. Mind (2024) look at the diferent causes at stress, including:

  • Being under lots of pressure.
  • Worrying about something.
  • Experiencing discrimination, hate or abuse.
  • Going through a period of uncertainty.
  • Having responsibilities that are overwhelming.
  • Having a lack of work, activities or change in your life.

Signs and Symptoms of Stress

Stress can trigger different feelings and have physical effects. If stressed, you may feel overwhelmed, irritable, angry, anxious, or afraid. However, you may also feel uninterested in life, depressed, neglected, a sense of dread and feel that existing mental health problems are worsening (Mind, 2024).

Mind (2024) also explore the physical signs of stress, which can include difficulty breathing, panic attacks, sleep problems, chest pains and high blood pressure, blurred eyesight, change in weight and feeling sick, amongst others.


  • We encounter both good and bad stress in life.
  • Small amounts of stress can result in positive outcomes.
  • Untreated stress can have a negative impact mentally and physically.
  • We experience stress in response to day-to-day issues as well as larger events/situations.