There are times when we feel under enormous pressure. Having deadlines, going through hard time at work, or when our friends or relative becomes ill. At times like this, we can start to feel overwhelmed or unable to cope. We feel stressed which can lead to mental health problems or make existing problems worse.
National Stress Awareness Month is a great opportunity to take a moment to think about our wellbeing and find advice or support on managing stress. To do this, we first have to know what is causing our feelings of stress and know the physical and mental signs of stress to be able to overcome this feeling.
A certain amount of stress can be a good thing and can really drive us, but when stress gets out of control, the consequences can be serious. Stress can be a key cause of anxiety and depression, and can have serious physical impact.
On a physical level, when you are stressed, you can feel tired, have headaches or stomach cramps. It can also be hard to find sleep, stay asleep or eat well. This lack of sleep and poor diet can really affect your physical health. Feeling stress for a long time releases high levels of cortisol and adrenaline into your body which can make you feel physically unwell and affect your health.
Learning how to manage your stress is not easy, but there are certain things you can do to mitigate the symptoms. It is important to know yourself and have the right techniques to cope with.
Some proven activities include:
- Exercise is a proven way to reduce stress. It allows you to focus on something else other than your concerns, have time for yourself and let off steam. Doing a physical activity also releases hormones called endorphins which triggers a feeling of wellbeing.
- Swimming or endurance sports are a really good way to free your mind and release tensions of your body. Yoga also helps to increase your wellbeing and find a certain serenity.
- Be in the moment. To reduce stress, it is also really important to know how to focus on what is happening right now and don’t let your thoughts take over the current moment. We tend to anticipate stressful situations which create anxiety without having lived this experience. Being in the present time allows you to be more focused but also be more aware of your feelings. For example, you could enjoy a hot shower, take a walk in a park, be with your family or cook a nice diner.
- Improve your sleep by having a good diet. Try to avoid screens at least one hour before going to bed and don’t forget to drink when you wake up.
- Manage your daily schedule to allow for some breaks so that you don’t feel overwhelmed with too much activity.
- Practice mindfulness exercises including meditation and breathing practices.
Don’t forget to share your feelings with your relatives and friends to get advice and support if you are feeling stressed.
You can also find some great advice and help from Mind, the mental health charity about how to manage your stress here :
By being aware of your stress level, you can try to find the best techniques that work for you to reduce your anxiety. Don’t forget that everyone is different so choose the methods that suit you the best and make you feel comfortable. If you would like to talk to someone to discuss stress or anxiety, you can also call Mind on: 0300 123 3393