Monday 4rd April
What is stress?
We often think of stress as negative “I am so stressed that I cannot get anything done!” For some people they thrive on the buzz of pressure to push them to their ‘A game’. Some even seek it out in the form of intense, thrilling activity. Have you guessed this is adrenaline? In all three examples, our body releases hormones like adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine to prepare the body to act with a boost of energy.
This release of hormones happens automatically, just like our heart beats to pump blood around our bodies. The negative state of stress happens during inappropriate situations and can be detrimental to our health if we remain in a state of stress for long periods as our body will think it is under attack.
Unnecessary functions shut down like digestion which can affect our appetite and bowel. Elevated cortisol levels can increase our heart rate and blood pressure. Our brain function is reduced and leads us to struggle to concentrate which can affect work and home life.
If stress can be both positive and negative, how will I know which is happening?
When we perceive that the demand on us exceeds what we feel able to manage then we need to act to reduce the triggers or manage the stress. Stress is not avoidable, we will all have demands on us at times. We experience stress in different ways, so it is important to be aware of how it affects you.
Here are some common themes which arise due to the impacts of stress:
Cognitive: memory problems, being indecisive or having poor judgement, poor concentration, questioning or doubting yourself
Emotional: depression, moody, irritable, panicky, frustration, feeling overwhelmed
Physical: heart racing or chest pain, tension, achy, frequent colds, skin complaints
Behavioural: many tasks on the go but none completed, procrastination, changes in appetite, changes in sleep patterns, increase of nicotine, caffeine, or alcohol
How can I manage my stress?
Increase your resilience by putting yourself first. Eat healthily, keep hydrated, keep moving, have a bedtime routine to get off to sleep, learn to say no, and use time management to get a balance of enjoyment and achievement.
The Stress Management Society has fantastic resources, including the 30-Day Challenge from distress to de-stress, try it for yourself: https://www.stress.org.uk/30daychallenge/
For more information on Stress Awareness Month, visit https://www.stress.org.uk/national-stress-awareness-month/« Back to News & Blog
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