10 Apr 2018
We all get stressed. Stress isn’t always a bad thing and is a very normal part of life. Stress is a physical response to change, a threat, or danger. It is a survival strategy: the part of the brain that controls our emotions shuts down any unnecessary functions, triggering what we know as the ‘flight or fight’ response.
When this is constantly happening without relief or relaxation the distress we are experiencing can lead to physical health problems which include:
• Hair loss
• Change in weight
• Weakening of the immune system
• Elevated blood pressure
• Chest pain
• Trouble sleeping
Stress can also affect our behaviour, making us easily agitated, frustrated and moody, easily overwhelmed, out of control, lonely, worthless and depressed.
What triggers your stress response? Through identifying what is causing you feelings of stress and pressure in your life you can prepare yourself for these problems and situations.
• Keep a journal or make regular lists of things that worry you or cause you stress. Then begin to consider how you could reduce the level of stress these things are causing you.
• Do some problem solving: develop a strategy to follow when you are exposed to your ‘stress triggers’.
Some small lifestyle changes could change your mind-set, improve your mood and reduce your stress levels.
• Regular exercise releases endorphins, your brain’s feel-good chemicals. Getting active can also improve your sleep, increase your self-esteem and relax you, all things that will help with stress management.
• Don’t rely on unhealthy habits such as smoking, caffeine or alcohol. All of which can affect your mood and may lead to further health issues.
• Eating a healthy, balanced diet is good for your mind and your body.
Stress and pressure can arise from a heavy workload, busy lifestyle and having lots of things to juggle at once. Getting organised can restore your sense of control and reduce stress.
• Work smarter: Identify when and how you work best and use it to your advantage.
• Breakdown your workload with lists and set yourself achievable goals. Be realistic with what you can achieve and don’t punish yourself for shortcomings.
• Take regular breaks to boost productivity and prevent burnout.
• Ask for help!
If you feel you are struggling to cope due to feelings of stress you could consider: talking therapies, CBT, mindfulness, gardening, exercise, leisure activities, art therapy or laughter therapy.
The first step for accessing services or advice is to contact your GP who will be able to show you what is on offer and refer you.
Our Wellbeing Service can help you find local support, new activities and relevant services. Ring us on 020 7561 5291 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other organisations can also provide help.
The Stress Project - Islington: 0207 700 3938
Samaritans: 116 123
CALM (for men): 0800 58 58 58
SANEline: 0300 304 700