Stress can affect us all, at anytime in our lives, coming from a multitude of situations. It can be short lived or prolonged, it could be modest or overwhelming. The important thing is that we start to recognise the signs and identify opportunities in our lives that will enable us to reduce our stress levels and teach us ways in which we can limit our encounters with stressful situations.

Overview

Every April, for the past twenty nine years, a campaign has been run by the Stress Management Society to make us all aware of the causes and cures of stresses in our daily lives. It is often understated on how much stress can impact both our mental and physical well-being.

For further information check out their website

What are some of the causes of stress?

What affects can these have on you?

Stress can have a whole range of effects on your mental and physical well-being, ranging from annoying to life-threatening over time. It can also cause serious changes to your overall behaviour.

word cloud containing the following - dry mouth, short breath, forgetfulness, rapid heartbeat, isolation, headache, crying, worry, sweating, irritability, overeating, low libido, over thinking, insomnia, bad attitude, muscle ache, lack of concentration and stomach problems

Its important that you try to recognise these symptoms as early as possible so that you can either speak to a medical professional or make life style changes to prevent stress taking over.

What are some of the cures for stress?

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Affection and companionship – Be it friends, family or pets, being around others can have a huge positive affect. Conversation, silent company and cuddles can all make you feel good.

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Food and drink – Try to avoid caffeinated drinks and sugary foods, they can weaken your defences against stress. Instead, why not try some relaxing herbal teas or explore a healthy, well balanced diet.

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Exercise – Whether you go for a walk, take part in yoga or participate in something a bit more physical, it can all help. One of the key bodily responses is the increased development of endorphins, making mind and body feel good.

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Relaxation – This is a great way to drastically reduce and lower stress levels, and there are so many ways to achieve this. You might listen to music, enjoy nature, develop a mindfulness attitude or sit back and enjoy the aroma of candles.

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Sleep – Get regular sleep, about 7 to 8 hours a night for adults. This can help your body heal, strengthen concentration and enables you to cope better.

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Take control – Its easier said than done, but once you develop a certain self control of your behaviours, feelings and emotions. You can start to control and stop those which establish or prolong stress.

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Laughter – Some say laughter is the best medicine, some say it is good for the soul. It can also help to reduce or stop your responses to stress. Plus, don’t forget to smile.

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Chewing gum – It might sounds crazy but a study discovered that ‘Levels of salivary cortisol (a physiological stress marker) in gum chewers were lower than those of non-gum chewers by 16 percent during mild stress and nearly 12 percent in moderate stress.’ (WM. Wrigley jr. Company, 2008)

The 30 day April challenge

Its fair to say that we all have stresses in our lives. So, more than ever, we all need to create coping mechanisms as a regular part of our daily lives. The 30 day challenge has been created to help you achieve this. On the first day start three new actions or things that can go towards benefiting your physical, mental and emotional well-being. Repeat over the next 30 days and by the end of the period they should become a regular, everyday thing that you do.

I think i’m going make sure I for a short walk around the block every lunchtime, make time in the evening when I can just sit, relax and clear my thoughts. Finally I want to have more opportunities in the day to laugh.

What three things will you start? let us know in the comments below.

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References and Sources

Mind (2021) Signs of Stress. Available at: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/stress/signs-of-stress/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIy7OMqK_O7wIVB7TtCh2phgvqEAAYAiAAEgKkAPD_BwE (Accessed: 2021).

Rethink Mental Illness (2021) Stress how to cope. Available at: https://www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/living-with-mental-illness/wellbeing-physical-health/stress-how-to-cope/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIy7OMqK_O7wIVB7TtCh2phgvqEAAYAyAAEgIKDPD_BwE (Accessed: 2021).

Stress Management Society (2017/2021) Stress Awareness Month 2021. Available at: https://www.stress.org.uk/national-stress-awareness-month-2019/ (Accessed: 2021).

Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company (2008) New research finds chewing gum may help reduce stress: study to be presented at the 2008 10th International Congress of Behavioral Medicine [Press release]. 29 August. Available at: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-08/epr-nrf082908.php (Accessed: 26 March 2021).