Mental health and stress management

How to manage stress

peace of mind

Stress is a trait that has been present in humans for thousands of years and is there to make your body respond to threats. Stress hormones such as adrenaline are released, resulting in increased heart rate, quickened breathing and the feeling of nervousness or fear. This is called the 'fight or flight' response, which simply means that your body is preparing to either stay and face the threat or try and escape from it.

There are many stresses in modern life, such as pressures with work, family, health and finances. Some stress can be good (for example, it is OK to feel a bit nervous before an exam or interview because it will motivate you to do more preparation). However, it can become a problem if the stress is present a lot of the time and it is affecting your life. If stress continues for a prolonged period, you are at risk of developing high blood pressure which can lead to heart attacks or stroke.

Stress affects different people in different ways. Symptoms include:

  • Behaviour change
  • Breathlessness
  • Crying
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling anxious
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sweating
  • Tiredness

Handling stress

Tips for handling stress:

  • Identify what stresses you: write down your feelings, situations, talk to a friend
  • Relax: go for a walk, learn to meditate, read a book or take a hot bath. Releasing stress tension helps you calm the heart's pace, digest food normally, and protect your immune system
  • Eat healthily: cut back on junk food and fill up on fruit and vegetables for increased energy levels
  • Say no: don't take on too much and if you can't think of a good reason for why you're doing something, stop doing it
  • Keep active: great for relieving tension and blowing off the cobwebs. A five minute jog or running up and down the stairs a few times can clear your mind, get the blood pumping and make you feel better
  • Laugh: a sense of humour and good attitude has been shown to reduce the effects of stress and benefit physical health and relationships
  • Organise and prioritise: do the worst and hardest tasks first. Keep a to-do list and calendar with you at all times

Getting help

If you are having trouble controlling your stress contact your GP who will be able to help you. You can find further information on self help resources, charities and organisation who offer help and support using the links in this page.

Last updated: ‎08/08/2023 10:39