Well, it’s not really an epidemic. But it is widespread. The mental health charity Mind says that 1 in 6 workers at any time is suffering from stress, anxiety or depression – so there are definitely a lot of us around who are susceptible these mental health issues.
Stress isn’t always bad…
Small amounts of stress are actually natural and healthy – it helps us get out of bed and make the train to work on time, study for exams, and all sorts of other things. Too much stress, however, can be a real problem and increases our risk of certain health problems such as high blood pressure.
Stress can be caused by major life events such as bereavement, relationship breakups, and having too much needing done. Symptoms can include headaches and upset stomach. So it’s best to find a set of stress management tactics if you ever feel over stressed.
Luckily there are lots of things we can do to combat stress, and we’ve listed our top ten below:
- Identify what’s causing the stress.
- Healthy Attitude to life. Avoiding alcohol and eating healthy foods will help you cope with stress.
- Good quality sleep. Sleep works wonders at helping us relax and re-energise.
- Relaxation. There are lots of very effective relaxation techniques out there from controlled breathing to meditation. Find some that work for you and practise them often.
- Exercise – this one is a really useful tool in fighting stress. And getting exercise doesn’t just help keep us fit – exercise is known to help with stress levels.
- Communication. Don’t deny that stress exists if you’re suffering from it. Be open with a loved one or close friend about it.
- Research stress. By knowing the causes of stress – as well as the effects of it, you’ll gain a greater understanding of what stress does. And the more insight you have into stress, the better you’ll be able to manage it.
- Work smart. It might sometimes seem like there’s way too much to do and too little time do get it done. Look at prioritising all the things you need to get done, and avoid just diving in without having drawn up a list of priorities.
- Get fresh air. It’s amazing how brief few moments outside can have a positive effect on our mood.
- Watch your posture. Are you habitually tensed up, bent forward? Be aware of your body and if you catch yourself in the wrong posture, breathe deep and put it right. Instantly you’ll feel better.
Stress is a daily fact of life for many of us, but by constantly looking for ways to manage it we can help make the day run that bit more smoothly and enjoy our downtime all the more.
About the author: Jen Jones writes for a number of health and wellbeing websites on the subject of group medical insurance and other workplace wellbeing topics