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Stress Awareness Month
Feeling stressed? Everyone faces stress from time to time. The tricky thing about stress is that it impacts the body’s ability to effectively do its job. For example, you might choose to eat a healthy lunch, but if you’re eating it while stressed (perhaps feeling like you don’t have time to eat and that you should be working), the body won’t be able to digest and absorb all of the amazing nutrients that you consumed.
Stress can be displayed in a number of different ways including both physical and mental:
Physical symptoms of stress include:
- Aches and pains
- Chest pain or a feeling like your heart is racing
- Exhaustion or trouble sleeping
- Headaches, dizziness or shaking
- High blood pressure
- Muscle tension or jaw clenching
- Stomach or digestive problems
Stress can lead to emotional and mental symptoms like:
- Depression, anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Anger, irritability, or restlessness
- Feeling overwhelmed, unmotivated, or unfocused
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Racing thoughts or constant worry
- Problems with your memory or concentration
- Making bad decisions
Long-term stress can build up and have an adverse impact on health. Taking steps such as the below, to reduce and cope with stress can help to prevent these effects.
Stress and anxiety can affect how you breathe, which will have an effect on how your body and mind feels. Taking a few deep breaths and focusing your mind can help slow your breathing and heart rate which will relax your muscles and calm your mind.
It’s a cliché for a reason: exercise really does help your body to release feel-good hormones like endorphins, which can help you to feel less stressed. Stress can also make you subconsciously tense your muscles; which exercise might help to release. You don’t have to go for a full body workout, you could go on a 20-minute jog or walk or do some mindful yoga. (Fun fact: Yoga is one of the oldest physical disciplines in the world and was originally practiced as a form of healing!)
Stress can kick in when you’re feeling overwhelmed by the number of tasks that need to be done or deadlines that must be met either at work or in your personal life. Writing a to-do list or having a time management strategy can help you focus on seeing each task through to finish, giving you a feeling of competition which will help to relieve your mind.
Ongoing stress can affect your mental health, if this persists your doctor may be able to recommend some more tips or even medication should you need it. You should see your GP if you’ve been feeling unwell or ‘not yourself’ for two weeks or more. Remember: you don’t need to wait for a crisis to seek help for mental health.
You can find helpful ways to improve your health and happiness here: https://www.calm.com/
Learn more about stress on the NHS website: https://bit.ly/3EOVZGH
Read more about potential causes of stress here: https://bit.ly/3jWI0qe