According to a 2018 study, over the past year, 74% of people in the UK have felt so stressed that they have become overwhelmed, or unable to cope.
National Stress Awareness Day returns on the 7th November 2018. The national campaign is organised by the International Stress Management Association (ISMA) and it aims to raise awareness of the causes of stress, and the ways in which you can reduce your stress levels. This year’s theme for the campaign is ‘Does Hi-Tech Cause Hi-Stress?’ As the ISMA try to help raise awareness of the negative and positive effects that technology can have on our mental wellbeing. What is stress?Stress is your body’s response to any kind of demand or threat. Small amounts of stress can be beneficial for your mental wellbeing, and can help you perform well under pressure. However, copious amounts of stress can cause detrimental effects to your physical and mental wellbeing. Symptoms of stressSome of the most common symptoms of stress can be split into four areas: psychological, emotional, physical and behavioural. Symptoms of stress will often accumulate until you are forced to take notice of them, such as:- Increased reliance on alcohol, smoking, caffeine or drug use.- Aggressive outbursts.- Dizziness or palpitations.- Panic attacks and nausea.- Nervousness. Causes of stressThe situations and pressures that cause stress are known as ‘stressors’. Often associated with negative occasions, stressors can develop due to positive events in life as well, such as getting married, the birth of a child, or buying a house. Common causes of stress include:- Major life changes.- Work/life balance.- Relationship difficulties.- Financial problems. How to reduce stressThere are many ways to help to reduce your stress levels, from simple short term changes to long term alterations to your lifestyle or routines, such as:Exercise regularly - It won’t cause your stress disappear, but it will help you stay healthy and better equipped to cope with any issues you may face.Effectively manage your time - The act of taking control is in itself empowering, and it's a crucial part of finding a solution that satisfies you, and not someone else.Socialise - Stay connected with people you can trust. A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your work troubles and help you see things in a different way.Breathing exercises - The NHS recommends breathing techniques to help induce feelings of calm during periods of intense pressure. There are also many tips and techniques available through the Health Assured health and wellbeing portal to assist you with this.Adult colouring books - Creative tasks can be an imaginative solution to reducing your stress levels. People find that the repetitive motion of colouring can be soothing, and testing your concentration levels can help focus your mind. Did you know?- 37% of British residents feel stressed for at least one full day per week.- Women suffer from stress for three more days per month then men.- Of those who reported feeling stressed in the past year, 22% cited debt as a stressors.- 49% of 18-24 year olds who have experienced high levels of stress, felt that comparing themselves to others was a source of stress. How do I get involved?The most effective way to celebrate Stress Awareness Day is to take the opportunity to assess the stress in your life for the day. You should use the time to examine your life and discover all of your stressors, and then take the necessary steps to try to remove them from your life.