Stress, huh, what is it good for…

One in four people in the UK suffer from a mental health problem every year. Recognising your own mental state is important and reducing your stress levels is the key to managing it. 

So what is stress and what can you do to combat it? 

Stress is the reaction that you have to excessive pressure or demands placed on you. It occurs when you can’t cope with either the level of pressure or the events that are happening in your life.

Although it is essential to experience challenges and pressure during day to day life, excessive pressure can lead to feelings of stress and should be avoided. 

Recognising the signs of stress:

  • Emotions such as tearfulness and irritation;
  • Absenteeism/Presenteeism;
  • Poor time-keeping;
  • Inability to deal with usual workload;
  • Increased forgetfulness, accidents and mistakes;
  • Reduced productivity;
  • Indecisiveness or rash decision-making.

What you can do to alleviate stress:-

  • Be active – exercise doesn’t make stress disappear, but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you’re feeling;
  • Take control – every problem has a solution. The act of taking control is in itself empowering, and it’s a crucial part of finding a solution that satisfies you and not someone else;
  • Connect with people – a good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your work troubles and help you see things in a different way;
  • Have some ‘me time’ – we all need to take some time for socialising, relaxation or exercise;
  • Challenge yourself – setting goals and challenges such as learning a new language or a new sport, helps to build confidence. This will help you deal with stress;
  • Avoid unhealthy habits – don’t rely on alcohol, smoking and caffeine to cope;
  • Help other people – there is evidence that people who help others through activities such as volunteering or community work become more resilient;
  • Work smarter, not harder – prioritise your work and concentrate on the tasks that will make a difference;
  • Try to be positive – look for the positives in your life and the things for which you are grateful;

Accept the things you can’t change – try to concentrate on the things you have control over.

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