Are you stressed and under pressure? Are you struggling to cope with the daily demands of your life? Stress is something that affects the majority of us on a day to day basis, that being big or small. Stress Awareness Month has been held annually every April since 1992, and has been created to help educate people on how to deal with stress efficiently and to share awareness of the fact it’s ok to be stressed; you’re never alone!
WHY DO WE GET STRESSED?
Stress is a physical reaction that our body develops when we are under strain and pressure. Our body responds to this by producing chemicals and hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine ready to attack, known as the ‘fight or flight’ reflex. This can, unfortunately, trigger a butterfly effect of health problems.
There are a variety of symptoms people experience when being stressed, including:
• Poor Judgement
• Inability to Concentrate
• ‘Brain Fog’
• Starting many tasks but achieving little
There are many factors as to why someone can become stressed and it is different for every individual. Something which could cause you to become stressed might not faze someone else; they could even find it enjoyable!
There are many aspects of general life which can cause stress such as:
• Major events
• Illness or Injury
• Caring for a loved one
• Having too much on your schedule
• Relationship issues (partner or family)
• Financial Problems
• Work or School
• Just being stressed about stress!
We all know to try to balance the stresses of commitments between aspects such as work, your social life, eating healthy and staying fit can all have their strains. But it’s not all doom and gloom!
Stress can have some positive external factors, after all where would we be without stress? It could be stress regarding a new job or a wedding, any major life-changing events; high demanding successful situations are usually two things that usually come associated with one another.
If stress isn’t dealt with correctly they can potentially lead to other health problems such as:
• Blood being diverted to muscles
• Aches and pains
• Problems sleeping
• Skin conditions such as eczema & acne
• Weight problems
• Digestive problems
• Reproductive problems
• Nausea, dizziness
• Chest pain
• Breathing problems
• Thinking and memory problems
• Damage to the immune system making you more susceptible to the cold and flu
Not only does stress cause physical health problems but if left untreated this can stem other issues involving your mental health to deteriorate, leaving you vulnerable to other problems such as depression and anxiety.
WAYS TO DEAL WITH STRESS
Stress is in no way avoidable but definitely manageable. There are a few things you can put to the test to learn how to manage your stress effectively and sustainably. You need to recognise what your personal symptoms are, that will be the first step into developing a change. Finding your own way of dealing with stress can be hugely beneficial to you, and may even change your entire outlook on life for the better; so why not give it a try!
What can we eat and what cant we eat? It’s forever changing and can be extremely frustrating for many of us.
Ensuring you’re eating a healthy, balanced diet is so important to ensure that you’re boosting your immune system, lowering your blood pressure and subconsciously helping to lessen the way stress will affect your body! You’ll want to avoid comfort foods that are high in saturated fats as they can boost your moods temporarily but subsequently, this leads to energy crashes and less motivation throughout your day.
Why not try replacing caffeinated and alcoholic drinks for water, herbal teas, or diluted natural fruit juices as this will enable your body to cope better with stress.
GET MORE SLEEP
Sleep deprivation can significantly generate your stress levels to increase. However, having a lot on your plate can naturally result in restless nights, counting down the hours before work. This affects your performance at work or school, consequently making you more stressed and it feeling like a never-ending vicious cycle!
Rather than becoming reliant on medication to allow you to drift into a sleep, try different methods. Studies have shown that meditating before bed, keeping off devices such as mobile phones, tablets and even watching TV (white light), as well as avoiding things such as caffeine to keep your heart rate down can all benefit to getting a good night’s sleep.
TIP: If you’re struggling to sleep try tensing your body working from the bottom of your toes all the way up to your shoulders!
Physical activity is a great way of tiring you out. When exercising, your body releases endorphins known as ‘happy hormones’. These hormones can be used as a surrogate to metabolise the stress hormone. This natural high will boost your mood decreasing the amount of stress-related hormones in your body!
Try to incorporate some exercise in your daily routines, even if it’s a quick walk around the park – get out to calm your body and mind.
When it comes to different relaxing techniques, not every method will work for everyone. This is why you may end up trying a few techniques before you find the one which works for you.
Self-hypnosis has been proven to be very effective and is something you can try anywhere, even at work. Try by focusing on positive words such as ‘calm’ or ‘peace’; if you find your mind has wandered or you become aware of intrusive thoughts entering your mind, simply disregard them and return your focus to the chosen word or phrase.
IN A TRANCE
Hypnotherapy can be an extremely useful tool to get to the root of why you may be stressed and address the problem. Once you’ve discovered where your stress has originated from, you can begin your journey and get back to feeling like you again with the supported guidance you may need.
WHEN TO SEEK MEDICAL HELP?
Of course we all experience ‘bad days’ every now and then, nevertheless if your bad days tend to last longer than around 5 days get in contact with your local GP or a counsellor to help get you back on track.
If you’re worried about your stress levels then take a stress test online by visiting www.stress.org.uk/individual-stress-test/ – there’s always time to take action on your life!