Identifying Stress Overload – F.L. Safety Training

17 Apr 2018

Ahead of her CIF Webinar this Wednesday, Stress Response tutor, nurse and Managing Director of F.L. Safety Training, Florentine Loughney, outlines what you can do to identify stress overload in yourself and others.


“There is a need to turn the tide on suicide by recognising the signs of depression and stress in ourselves, in our families, friends and work colleagues.”

Stress is defined by Lazarus as being “a particular relationship between the person and the environment that is appraised by the person as taxing or exceeding his or her resources and endangering his or her wellbeing”.

Psychological Impacts of Stress

Overload of stress can be the cause of poor mental health; it can lead to anxiety and depression. Moods and emotions are created by our thoughts. When we are depressed and anxious we have negative thoughts, which may be distorted, irrational or exaggerated. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy seeks to challenge the thoughts of the individual and teaches the person to think in a more rational and realistic way.

Physical Effects of Stress

When stressed, the brain stimulates the release of adrenaline and noradrenaline into the bloodstream and the resultant impact is akin to a fire alarm going off, arousing the body in a negative manner. The physical effects of stress are very real and include the following:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Blood pressure rises
  • Breathing rate increases
  • Oxygen consumption rises
  • Muscles become tense
  • Changing brain wave patterns
  • Our thoughts intensify
  • Health sustaining activities are suspended. 

Coping with Stress

There are many resources to enable us to deal with stress; these include:

  • Maintaining health and energy (by eating and sleeping well and by exercising)
  • Positive beliefs in oneself (positive mental attitude)
  • Problem solving skills (identifying the causal factors of stress)
  • Social skills (talk about any issues)
  • Social support (seek help).


Ireland has the 4th highest rate of suicide in Europe, which is an alarming statistic. Those at greatest risk fall within two age groups, 25-34 year olds and 45-54 year olds, with men 3-times more likely to commit suicide than women. There is a need to turn the tide on suicide by recognising the signs of depression and stress in ourselves, in our families, friends and work colleagues.

Early intervention is essential. There is a need to recognise the warning signs, ask the question of family, friend and work colleagues if they are okay, and advise them that it is okay not to feel okay, and certainly okay to verbalise it. So, what are the signs of stress burden or depression? Some more typical indications may be:

  • Lack of interest in life events
  • Change of behaviour
  • Social isolation
  • Poor performance at work
  • Lack of interest in physical appearance
  • Poor sleeping habits
  • Over indulgence in alcohol drugs or food
  • Weight loss or weight gain

Help is out there in the form of:

  • The Samaritans
  • Aware
  • Grow
  • Console
  • Pieta House
  • Family friends and work colleagues.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Please remember that every person is different, but we each have needs that must be met to achieve satisfaction and appreciation of self-worth. I refer to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, as illustrated, which is often presented as a five-level pyramid, with higher level needs coming into focus only once lower, more basic needs are fulfilled.



Some tips for achieving and maintaining positive mental health include:

  • Mindfulness
  • Meditation
  • Exercise / physical fitness
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Good diet
  • Have a good sleep pattern
  • Talk to your friends and family
  • Journal (e.g. write 5 things you are grateful for before you go to sleep and when you wake up)
  • Taking time for yourself
  • Doing nothing!!!

Florentine Loughney is Managing Director of F.L. Safety Training, a well-established, QQI, Irish Heart Foundation approved training company with national, multinational and individual clients.

Florentine is a State Registered Nurse and an Occupational Health Nurse and is a registered member of the ONAI; she benefits from a Higher Diploma in Safety Health and Welfare at Work and is a qualified First Aid instructor and examiner, a Manual Handling instructor and examiner and a qualified Stress Response tutor.

On the 18th April at 2pm, Florentice is to facilitate a live webinar for CIF members to discuss the positive aspects of education in mental health and wellbeing. You can register for this event by click here

Topics to be covered include:

  • How to identify stress overload in ourselves and others?
  • How does stress affect us both physically and psychologically?
  • How to be proactive and maintain good mental health and wellbeing?
  • Helpful tools and advice.


Contact details for FL Safety Training Ltd.

Contact:               Florentine Loughney

Email:                    [email protected]

Phone:                 086 8179759


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