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National Stress Awareness Day 2023: Tips for Managing Stress

National Stress Awareness Day is observed halfway through International Stress Awareness Week and was established in 1998 by the International Stress Management Association (ISMA) to raise awareness of the causes and effects of stress and to promote healthy coping mechanisms.

Stress is a normal and healthy response to challenges and threats. However, too much stress can have a negative impact on our physical and mental health and over time, chronic stress can increase our risk of developing severe health conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

In this blog, we'll look at the symptoms of stress as well as some tips for managing it.

Recognising the Symptoms of Excessive Stress

Stress can manifest in a variety of ways, both physically and emotionally. Here are some of the most common symptoms of excessive stress:

  • Physical symptoms: Fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, stomachaches, changes in appetite, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, changes in sex drive
  • Emotional symptoms: Anxiety, irritability, depression, mood swings, difficulty making decisions, feeling overwhelmed, withdrawn, or hopeless

Here are some additional signs that you may be experiencing excessive stress:

  • You are constantly worrying or ruminating about things.
  • You have difficulty relaxing or enjoying yourself.
  • You are using unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, or overeating.

If you are experiencing any of these signs, it is crucial to seek professional help. Early intervention can help to prevent stress from leading to more serious health problems.

Here are some tips for recognising the symptoms of excessive stress in others:

  • Pay attention to their physical and emotional state. Are they looking tired, stressed, or withdrawn? Do they seem to be irritable, anxious, or depressed?
  • Ask them how they are feeling. Let them know that you are there for them and willing to listen.
  • Encourage them to seek professional help if they are struggling to manage their stress.

By recognising the symptoms of excessive stress, you can help yourself and others to get the support they need.

Key Tips for Managing Stress

There are many different things you can do to manage stress. Here are a few essential tips:

  • Identify your stressors. The first step to managing stress is to identify the things that are causing you stress. Once you know what your stressors are, you can start to develop strategies for coping with them.
  • Make healthy lifestyle choices. Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and getting enough sleep can help to reduce stress levels. Exercise is a particularly effective way to reduce stress, as it releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects.
  • Take breaks. When you're feeling stressed, it's essential to take breaks throughout the day. Get up and move around, or do something that you enjoy. Taking breaks can help to clear your head and reduce stress levels.
  • Learn relaxation techniques. Several different relaxation techniques can help manage stress, such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga. Find a method that works for you and practice it regularly.
  • Talk to someone. Talking to a friend, family member, therapist, or other trusted person can help to reduce stress levels and improve your mood.

Additional Tips for Managing Stress

  • Set realistic expectations. Don't try to do too much at once. Set realistic goals for yourself and break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones.
  • Say no. It's okay to say no to requests, especially if you're feeling overwhelmed.
  • Avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms. Smoking, drinking alcohol, and overeating can all make stress worse.
  • Seek professional help. If you're struggling to manage stress on your own, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

Conclusion

Stress is a normal part of life, but it's essential to learn how to manage it effectively. By following the tips above, you can reduce stress levels and improve your overall well-being.

Additional Resources

If you're looking for additional resources on stress management, here are a few suggestions:

  • The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has a website with information on stress management, including tips for coping with stress, relaxation techniques, and resources for finding professional help.
  • The NHS - Every Mind Matters website provides information on stress management, including articles, tips, and resources for finding professional help.
  • The National Stress Management Association (ISMA) has a website with information on stress management, including articles, resources, and a directory of stress management professionals.
  • At MHIB, we offer various short courses and workshops to help with stress management.

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