How to deal with stress
DEIDRE SAYS: Almost 79 per cent of employed Brits commonly experience work-related stress – despite this, many still have questions on how to cope.
Stress is our reaction to change, good or bad. Automatically our bodies go into what is called the fight or flight reaction and our body must cope with it afterwards.
Stress is healthy, but only if temporary, if the effects are allowed to go on too long, they are damaging to the body.
Whilst your stress may have a mental or emotional cause, learning how to control the physical symptoms of stress will help you feel calmer, and more able to tackle the real problems.
So what are the best ways to cope with stress?
That tightness in your chest is a tell-tale sign of stress. Whenever you feel this, slow and steady breathing is a great place to start whenever you feel your breathing come in short, panicky pants.
There are plenty of other breathing techniques that can really help.
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Meditation is another great way to find a sense of calm and reduce stress.
The most common way to practice is to focus all your attention on the breath, in and out.
The Headspace app is another great introduction to mindfulness meditation and is an easy-to-learn guided meditation course.
Massage is a fantastic way to relieve muscle tension and stress – and if you have a partner, it is a great couple’s activity.
You can learn the strokes from an illustrated guide. More information is available in our Couples Massage support pack.
4. Keeping fit
The fitter you are, the quicker your body can recover from stress. Exercise itself also relieves the symptoms of stress and helps you feel in control.
Exercise doesn’t have to be in a lively class or on a football pitch, it includes a walk in the park – little steps lead to big changes.
5. Healthy Eating
Making healthy diet choices help. If you’re unsure what foods are best, you can ask your doctor for advice.
Many people develop a weight problem while suffering from stress and anxiety. They may use food to comfort themselves and carrying excess weight is extra physical stress on the body.
If this problem applies to you, our support pack End Weight Worries can help.
6. Cut The Booze
We’ve all reached for the beer or wine after a stressful day to help us wind down.
But alcohol can have the opposite effect. It’s a chemical depressant and unbalances the delicate equilibrium of chemicals and processes in our brains when taken in excess.
If you’re struggling to control your drinking, our support pack Drink Problem? may help.
7. Open Up
Talking about your feelings can help to combat the negative thinking patterns that make it hard to cope with stress.
Talking to a trusted friend or family member can be an effective way to relieve your feelings of stress and anxiety.
More information is available in our Help for Stress support pack.
Whatever your worry, you’re not alone. The Dear Deidre team of counsellors will be able to recommend your best next steps to help get your life back on track.
For a support pack and personalised advice, email us at email@example.com or message us on Facebook.
Alicia Adendorff is a reporter for Healthy Organic Lifestyle.