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Stress is often called a 21st century illness but it has always been with us if perhaps different names. These days we regard stress a necessary evil of modern living. Yet stress is not negative and without we would not enjoy some of the highpoints in life as the anticipation before a date or the tension leading to an important match. All these situations produce stress, but you can control it and not the way round, you will feel stimulated, not worn .

Unlike these situations, which are generally positive and easier to deal with, sitting on a train is late, stuck in a traffic jam or working to a tight deadline are harder to manage and control. Stress is now recognised as a medical problem and as a signficant factor causing coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and a high cholesterol count. Patients are often unwilling to admit to stress problems they feel they are a form of social failure, but it is important that symptoms identified in order to avoid unnecessary suffering. So what should we be looking out for as danger signals? Common signs of stress are increased tiredness, irritability and inability to cope with certain situations.