Stress Awareness Month

Paul Glynn, counselling, CBT therapy and psychotherapist London. MSc Counselling, PG Adv Cert CBT, Adv Cert Clinical Supervision, BPhil, MBACP (Accred).
Author: Paul Glynn, Clinical Director, Psychotherapist & Counsellor
Published on:

April is Stress Awareness Month and this year’s focus is on raising understanding about the factors that contribute to stress, as well as promoting solutions. It also offers us the opportunity to reduce the stigma surrounding stress.  This year’s theme is “#LittleByLittle”, which emphasises the impact of small, positive actions on overall wellbeing.

Stress unites us all, as it is something that everybody experiences, often many times throughout the day.   Whether it is work or juggling the balance of relationships and childcare, there are factors that contribute to stress, which if not addressed can lead to mental health problems.

Stress is our body’s response to pressure that manifests itself in different ways. Although stress unites us all, it is not experienced in the same way by all.   Taking time to identify the pressures in our lives and addressing them is a great start to understanding and protecting our mental health.   What causes one person to become stressed, can be different for another. For example, some people thrive in a high powered, demanding job, whilst others can feel stressed by it.  So, what is a stressor and how we react to stress is personal and subjective. Some of the common symptoms or signs of stress include: –

How you might feel:

  • anxious
  • afraid
  • angry or aggressive
  • irritable
  • frustrated
  • depressed

These feelings can sometimes produce physical symptoms, making you feel even worse.

How your body might react:

  • headaches
  • nausea
  • indigestion
  • digestive problems such as constipation, bloating or diarrhoea
  • shallow breathing or hyperventilating
  • sweating
  • heart palpitations
  • aches and pains

How you might behave:

  • withdraw from other people or snap at them
  • be indecisive or inflexible
  • be tearful
  • have problems getting to sleep or staying asleep
  • experience sexual problems
  • smoke, drink alcohol, or take drugs more than usual.

The good news is that stress is a normal and healthy reaction that occurs when we feel threatened, uncertain, or overwhelmed.  And more good news is that even the smallest steps taken each day towards stress reduction can significantly improve mental health and emotional wellbeing over time.

Tips to Help You Manage Stress

There isn’t a one-size fits all option when it comes to relieving stress, so you might need to try some of these tips and see how they work for you. 

  • Getting enough sleep, at least seven hours per day
  • Eating a healthy and balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables
  • Exercising regularly, preferably in a way that you enjoy
  • Practicing relaxation techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or guided imagery
  • Slowing down and taking breaks from your daily tasks
  • Staying socially connected and talking about your problems with someone you trust
  • Engaging in hobbies and creative activities that make you happy
  • Avoiding unhealthy habits, such as smoking, excessive drinking, or overeating

 

How Therapy Can Help

There are many ways in which therapy can help with your stress.  It can help you learn ways to manage stressful situations or feelings. Therapy can also help you uncover the underlying causes of your worries and fears. Additional benefits include: –

  • Teach you how to relax
  • Help you look at situations in new, less frightening ways
  • Develop better coping and problem-solving skills
  • Addressing stress that occurs because of stress triggering events, such as changes at work, loss, separation, a difficult relationship(s), a life altering situation, feeling stuck unsure how to progress and the many other events that can trigger stress.

Whatever the cause of your stress, it can be helpful to have the guidance and expertise of a trained professional. Contact KlearMinds today to book an appointment with one of our highly skilled therapists.

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