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Dealing with stress

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Author: Holly Hannigan, Posted: Thursday, 24th January 2019, 09:00

Stress is a word thrown around everyday, yet many people don’t realise the impact stress can have on their physical health, as well as mental health.

Everyone responds differently to varying levels of stress and what one person might be able to cope with, another might feel is the end of the world. It’s therefore important to remember that recognising how you as an individual respond to stress in the early stages will help you be able to regain control over your emotional, mental and physical health.

Even happy events can cause stress

Even happy events like planning a wedding or having a baby can cause stress. The most common causes of stress are bereavement, work, money and relationships.

When we are in a stressful situation or have a build up of stress in our lives, then some of the responses we physically feel are:

• Headaches

• Sleep problems

• Upset stomach

• Muscle tension or pain

• Appetite changes

Emotionally you may feel:

• Overwhelmed

• Low self-esteem

• Anxious

• Irritable

Mentally you may feel:

• Racing thoughts

• Constant worrying

• Difficulty concentrating

• Difficulty making decisions

Managing stress can become part of your everyday life if you become aware of what works for you. One of the biggest changes that can help is accepting that you can’t always change the stressful situation, all you can do is take control of how you feel and act about it.

Becoming mindful and living in the present is a good habit to have, as it limits the amount of unnecessary worrying about the future, which has not happened yet. It is very empowering to gain control over your emotional well-being and along with that making sure you are talking to someone about your stresses and problems, whether that’s friends, family or a professional.

Self care is vital for being able to deal with stress, especially getting a good work/life balance. Making time to do what you enjoy, whether that is exercising, reading a book or socialising with friends, will help you maintain that balance.

Do not develop unhealthy habits to deal with stress

It is also important that you do not develop unhealthy habits to deal with stress, such as drinking lots of alcohol, smoking or relying on a high caffeine intake. These are avoidance behaviours and simply mask the problems, often creating new ones.

Maintaining a positive attitude can be challenging at times, especially where there are high levels of stress involved. However, it can be as simple as writing down three things you are grateful for in your life every day that can make all the difference and keep you focused on staying positive and finding solutions to your problems.

If you feel like stress is getting too much for you, contact your GP.

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