April is Stress Awareness Month, which aims to increase public awareness about the causes and the cures for the modern stress epidemic we’re going through.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last 12 months that they have felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.
Stress is a significant factor in mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. It is even linked to physical health issues like heart disease, problems with our immune system, insomnia and digestive problems.
For those of us that are dealing with stress, it can be difficult to know what to do to reduce our feelings and begin to feel more relaxed again.
What steps could you take to reduce stress?
The NHS suggest a 10-step stress solution to get you back on the right track.
Exercise can help to reduce some of the emotional intensity that you may be feeling. It has been proven to help clear your thoughts and to make you feel calmer.
Taking control of situations can feel empowering. Try to remain active in your thinking and to be positive. If you remain passive and feel like you can’t do anything about the problems, you may be facing then your stress will get worse.
Connect with people
Having a good network of friends and family can help you to see things in a different way and the support can be extremely beneficial.
Talking through your problems can help you to find solutions to your problems.
Have some ‘me time’
It’s important to take some time for yourself. Why not take a night or two off a week to socialise, relax or do some exercise?
Set yourself new goals and challenges, whether that’s at work or in your personal life.
Learning new things can help to boost your confidence which can in turn help you deal with stress.
Avoid unhealthy habits
Unhealthy habits such as overeating, smoking, drinking alcohol and caffeinated drinks can create more problems than they solve.
Although these things may provide you with temporary stress relief, it won’t get rid of your problems completely. It’s important to tackle the root cause of your stress.
Help other people
Volunteering or taking part in community work can give you fulfilment, self-awareness and resiliency.
If you take the time to help people who are in situations worse than yours will put things into perspective.
You could even do something kind each day, such as helping somebody carry their bags or offering to do the morning coffee run.
Work smarter, not harder
Tackle the most important tasks first. You’ll feel accomplished and will find the smaller tasks much easier to digest. Concentrate on the tasks that will make a difference.
Try to be positive
Positivity is key. Surround yourself with positive people and try to look out for the things and people you’re grateful for.
Try writing down three things that went well, or that you’re grateful for at the end of each day and this will help your mindset.
Accept things you can’t change
Try to concentrate on the things you have control over. There are many situations and things you can’t change, but your mindset, behaviour and work ethic are things you can change.
NHS. (2019). 10 stress busters. Accessible: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/reduce-stress/. Last Accessed: 17 April 2019.
Stress Management Society. (2019). Reduce stress in 7 days. Accessible: http://www.stress.org.uk/home/reduce-stress-in-7-days/. Last Accessed: 17 April 2019.