Did you know that April is National Stress Month? We’ve noticed a lot of companies highlighting this on social media recently, and the point of this blog post is to emphasise the matter further. We all feel a little bit stressed from time to time, but it’s important to ensure it doesn’t escalate into something that is a lot more serious. We must highlight that we are not here to delve into the sensitive depths of mental health issues, and we only wish to inform and educate the reader of the issues that surround this concerning topic.
What is stress?
Most of us think we know what stress entails, but take a moment to think about it and you’ll realise that you’re not exactly sure. Stress is a hormonal response from the body, starting with the part of your brain called the hypothalamus. When you’re stressed, the hypothalamus sends signals to your nervous system and to your kidneys, which release stress hormones that include adrenaline and cortisol.
Short term stress, known as acute stress, isn’t considered dangerous, but it’s a different story for the long term. This can cause numerous health effects, and your mental health and wellbeing can see a particularly sharp decline.
What are the symptoms of stress?
There are many symptoms of stress and different people will experience different ones. Some of the signs include:
- Feeling sad and depressed.
- Feeling hot and sweaty.
- Feeling irritable and angry.
- Feeling jittery and anxious.
- Having trouble sleeping.
- Feeling tired during the day.
- Headaches and other pains.
- Weight gain.
- Digestive problems.
- Chronic stress can cause high blood pressure.
How to help relieve stress.
Although it can be difficult, having a positive outlook on life is key to relieving stress. According to Professor Cary Cooper, an occupational health expert at the University of Lancaster, the best way to help deal with your stress is to firstly identify the cause. “Not taking control of the situation and doing nothing will only make your problems worse.” He believes that management can be achieved by building emotional strength, being in control of your situation and having a good social network and positive outlook. Some other ways to help relieve stress include:
- More exercise.
- Reduce your alcohol intake.
- Write down what is causing you stress.
- Spend time with friends, family and colleagues.
- Learn to say ‘no’ when things get too much.
- Take a break.
What do you do to relieve your stress?