What is stress?
Whether it’s the result of family issues, lack of sleep, unpaid bills or pressure at work, stress is something that most people experience at some point in their lives. The term 'stress' is generally used to describe how we feel when the demands we face are greater than our ability to cope.
When we experience stress our body responds to this as a threat by activating our ‘fight or flight’ response. The fight or flight response involves a surge of adrenaline, which allows us to think quickly to either deal with (fight) or escape (flight) from a threat. If this response is constantly activated it can have a negative effect on our body.
Symptoms of stress
Physically related symptoms such as pounding heart or palpitations, a dry mouth, headaches, odd aches and pains which can result in tension in the muscles, and loss of appetite for food.
Mental symptoms include feeling irritable, low self-esteem and uncertainty, which can lead to general fatigue, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping and emotional distress.
How can I manage stress?
Here are three simple things you can start doing today to help manage your stress levels:
Regular physical activity is not only good for your physical health but also beneficial for your mental health. Did you know that the recommended amount of physical activity is 150 minutes per week? Find out more about the benefits of exercise:
Relaxation tips to relieve stress
Relaxation is another excellent way to take your mind off things that may be causing stress in your life. The following link has some useful tips on incorporating relaxation techniques in to your life: www.nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/Pages/ways-relieve-stress.aspx
When stressed it is often easy to reach for another cigarette, have another glass of wine or maybe your favourite junk food. Although this may feel helpful at the beginning it won’t be good for your health in the long run. For information on how to make healthier diet choices, visit www.nutrition.org.uk
Remember stress is part of everyday life. Learn to recognise your signs of stress so that you can manage them and ensure that they don't manage you!
Find out more
Visit www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/stress-guide/ for more advice on managing your stress levels