APRIL IS STRESS AWARENESS MONTH

Posted by Heather Doggett on 26 April 2019

Stress is primarily a physical response. When stressed, the body thinks it is under attack and switches to ‘fight or flight’ mode, releasing a complex mix of hormones and chemicals to prepare the body for physical action.  Being under pressure is a normal part of life and is not necessarily a bad thing.  It can help you take action, feel more energised and get results. But if you often become overwhelmed by stress, these feelings could start to be a problem.  There might be one big thing causing you stress, but stress can also be caused by a build-up of small pressures. People experience stress in different ways and this contributes to stress manifesting itself differently.  To minimise risk is to identify stress-related problems as early as possible, so that action can be taken before serious stress-related illness occurs.  Stress isn’t a psychiatric diagnosis, but it’s closely linked to your mental health:-

Stress can cause mental health problems

Mental health problems can cause stress

Changes may be emotional, physical or behavioural, or a combination of all three. So, the key thing is to look out for negative changes of any kind. Bear in mind that the negative changes are also likely to have knock-on effects e.g. reduced performance at work.

Prolonged stress undoubtedly makes people ill. It is now known to contribute to heart disease, hypertension and high blood pressure, it affects the immune system, is linked to strokes, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, ulcers, diabetes, muscle and joint pain, miscarriage, allergies and alopecia

Dealing with pressure

  • Identify your triggers – Issues that come up regularly, one-off events, ongoing stressful event
  • Organise your time – Identify your best time of day, make lists, set smaller, more achievable tasks, vary activities, ask for help, take regular breaks, particularly within the workplace – breaks prevent decision fatigue; are essential for physical and emotional health; restore motivation and are essential to achieve our highest level of productivity and creativity
  • Address some of the causes – consider if are there some practical ways you could resolve or improve some of the issues that are putting pressure on you
  • Accept the things you can’t change – accepting that there are some things happening to you that you probably can’t do anything about will help you focus your time and energy more productively.

Ways to develop Resilience

Prioritise Your Health

Get a Good Nights Sleep

Practice Deep Breathing

Stay Hydrated

Eat for Wellbeing

Get Moving to Combat Stress

Adopt a Positive Mind Set

Master Your Time

Don’t be a Slave to Tech

Learn to Say No

Stress isn’t a medical diagnosis, so there is no specific treatment for it. However, there are treatments available if you are finding it very hard to cope with things going on in your life and are experiencing lots of signs of stress. These include:

Talking treatments – including cognitive behaviour therapy, mindfulness

Ecotherapy – spending time in nature – physical exercise in green spaces, gardening or taking part in a conservation project.

Complementary and alternative therapies – yoga and meditation, acupuncture, aromatherapy, massage.

Medication – there is no specific medication for stress. However, there are various medications available which can help to reduce or manage some of the signs of stress.