No need to panic about confusing collocates! Tim Bowen is here to relieve your stress.

Stress, in the non-linguistic sense, can take many forms. It can be emotional, psychological or work-related, as in ‘He was doing a highly specific yoga exercise to relieve work-related stress’.

Following a significant negative experience, stress can also be described as post-traumatic, as in ‘The court was told that the defendant was suffering from severe post-traumatic stress as a result of the incident’. As in this example, stress can be severe or it can also enormous or acute, as in ‘She has been under enormous stress at work recently’. If stress persists for a long time it can be described as chronic or prolonged, as in ‘Prolonged stress can lead to depression’.

A number of verbs collocate with stress in the sense of dealing with it or eliminating it. Examples are alleviate, combat, counteract, minimize, reduce and relieve, as in ‘Many people have found that gardening alleviates stress and helps them relax’.

Various verbs can be used in the sense of causing stress, including create, induce, place stress on someone and put someone under stress, as in ‘It is important for non-smokers to understand the enormous stress that the new regulations place on smokers’.

In terms of feeling stress, one can be under stress, experience stress or suffer from stress, as in ‘She’s been under a lot of stress in recent weeks’.

Stress can also be used in the plural in the expression stresses and strains (meaning ‘problems and difficulties’) as in ‘Prince William and Kate Middleton have to contend with all the stresses and strains that confront any married couple’.