However, from time to time the people close to you, be it a partner, parent, child, friend or colleague, can increase your stress levels. We explored relationships for Mental Health Awareness Week and how good relationships are vital for our mental health. Watch our animation now:. Events such as ongoing minor arguments and disagreements, to larger family crises, such as an affair, illness or bereavement are likely to affect the way you think, feel and behave. This may consequently have an impact on your stress levels. Read our guide to investing in your relationships.
The pressure of an increasingly demanding work culture in the UK is one of the biggest contributors to stress among the general population. The human costs of unmanaged work related stress is extensive.
Feeling unhappy about the amount of time you spend at work and neglecting other aspects of life because of work may increase your vulnerability to stress. Increased levels of stress can, if not addressed early enough, lead to burn-out or more severe mental health problems. Money and debt concerns place huge pressure on us, so it comes as no surprise that they have a marked effect on our stress levels.
The effects of the economic crisis have affected everyone in some capacity. The combination of chronic stress and debt can result in depression and anxiety, 26 and has been highlighted as a factor linked to suicidal thoughts and attempts. It is important if you are worried about your finances and debts that you do not try to deal with them alone. There is a lot of help and support available to you through organisations such as Step Change and Citizens Advice.
You should also talk to your GP or a trusted health professional if you are worried about how debt is affecting your mental and physical health. You might find that you smoke, drink alcohol or use recreational drugs to reduce stress. However, this often makes problems worse.
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Research shows that smoking may increase feelings of anxiety. Similarly, you may use alcohol as a means to manage and cope with difficult feelings, and to temporarily reduce feelings of anxiety.
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However, alcohol may make existing mental health problems worse. It can make you feel more anxious and depressed in the long run. Prescription drugs, such as tranquillisers and sleeping tablets, which may have been prescribed for very good reasons, can also cause mental and physical health problems if used for long periods of time.
For some people, problems start as their bodies get used to repeated use of the drug. This leads to the need for increased doses to maintain the same effect. Remember, that it is okay to ask for professional help.
Why are you stressed?
If you feel that you are struggling to manage on your own, then you can reach out. It is important to know that you can get help as soon as possible, and that you deserve to get better. The first person to approach is your family doctor. He or she should be able to give advice about treatment, and may refer you to another local professional. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy this is a type of therapy that works by helping you to understand that your thoughts and actions can affect the way you feel and Mindfulness based approaches are known to help reduce stress.
There are also a number of voluntary organisations which can help you to tackle the causes of stress and advise you about ways to get better. Anxiety UK runs a helpline staffed by volunteers with personal experience of anxiety from , Monday to Friday. Call Citizens Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice for a range of problems as well as providing information on your rights and responsibilities. StepChange provides help and information for people dealing with a range of debt problems.
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Freephone including from mobiles Mind provides information on a range of mental health topics to support people in their own area from 9. Samaritans offer emotional support 24 hours a day - in full confidence. There are a number of specialist services that provide various treatments, including counselling and other talking treatments. Often these different services are coordinated by a community mental health team CMHT , which is usually based either at a hospital or a local community mental health centre. Some teams provide hour services so that you can contact them in a crisis.
You should be able to contact your local CMHT through your local social services or social work team. Order Printed Copies Download for free What is stress? However, when it is affecting your life, health and wellbeing, it is important to tackle it as soon as possible, and while stress affects everyone differently, there are common signs and symptoms you can look out for: 15 feelings of constant worry or anxiety feelings of being overwhelmed difficulty concentrating mood swings or changes in your mood irritability or having a short temper difficulty relaxing depression low self-esteem eating more or less than usual changes in your sleeping habits using alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs to relax aches and pains, particularly muscle tension diarrhoea and constipation feelings of nausea or dizziness loss of sex drive.
B9. Managing Your Time And Managing Your Stress For Greater Effectiveness.
Realise when it is causing you a problem Try to make the connection between feeling tired or ill and the pressures you are faced with Look out for physical warnings such as tense muscles, over-tiredness, headaches or migraines 38 2. Review your lifestyle Could you be taking on too much? Are there things you are doing which could be handed over to someone else? Can you do things in a more leisurely way?
To act on the answer to these questions, you may need to prioritise things you are trying to achieve and re-organise your life This will help to release pressure that can come from trying to do everything at once. A small study from the University of Essex found that exercisers exposed to the color green found it easier to exercise and were in a better mood than exercisers exposed to gray or red.
Think green trees versus a cement-walled gym. For people dealing with high levels of stress, it can be hard to fathom how a few moments of meditation will help. How can a few moments of deep thought possibly help your life? It may help to think about how muscles get stronger. Unrelenting exercise simply tears down a muscle and leads to injury.
Now think about your mind as an emotional muscle.
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Unrelenting stress without a break will not make it stronger. Your emotions, your brain and your body need moments of recovery to get stronger from stress.
Think of meditation like high-intensity interval training H. During H.
This cycle is repeated multiple times and has been shown to be more effective for building strength than long, slow bouts of exercise. Now imagine a high-intensity, high-stress workday.
But every hour, you take two minutes to let your brain recover. If there is no recovery, there is no growth. Controlled breathing has been shown to reduce stress, increase alertness and boost your immune system. For centuries yogis have used breath control, or pranayama, to promote concentration and improve vitality. The Buddha advocated breath-meditation as a way to reach enlightenment. Science is just beginning to provide evidence that the benefits of this ancient practice are real.
Studies have found, for example, that breathing practices can help reduce symptoms associated with anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and attention deficit disorder. When your mind is racing or you feel keyed up, try Rock and Roll breathing, which has the added benefit of strengthening your core. One study recruited 35 unemployed men and women who were seeking work and experiencing considerable stress.
All of them participated in stretching exercises, but half of them were also taught formal mindfulness meditation. After three days, everyone said they felt refreshed and better able to withstand the stress of unemployment.