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Stress Awareness Day

Unfortunately, stress seems to have become a constant factor in modern life - with our fast-paced lifestyles and high pressure environments, it's an all-too-common reality for the majority of people.

However, living in a constant state of heightened stress can have a detrimental effect on our mental health, physical health, relationships and even career and life goals.

On November 2nd it is National Stress Awareness Day, something relevant to so many of us. In fact, according to Mental Health Foundation, at some point in the last year, 74% of us have felt so stressed that we have felt unable to cope.

Stress is essentially your body's way of using hormones to help you cope quickly with a threat or pressure. When you're in a "fight or flight" response, your body uses cortisol and adrenaline to enable certain reactionary states. Your heart-rate will increase, blood-flow is diverted from your digestive system to your skeletal muscles (ready to move quickly!) Your blood and oxygen rates change to prioritise quick thinking, and quick movement. It's the opposite of 'rest & digest.'

This state of being is an incredibly useful survival tactic, especially when used in short bursts to help us navigate an imminent threat, or give us hyper focus to complete a task. But the problem occurs when this becomes a chronic state of being.

Test it now - are you holding excess tension in your jaw and shoulders?

Despite it being so commonplace, stress awareness day is a useful prompt for us all to think about how we manage stress in our day-to-day lives.

It sounds strange, but it got us thinking... are we even aware of our stress?

Or is it so ingrained in us that it feels like the norm?

Here are some ways to recognise stress, and what to do about it.

Ways to Recognise Stress

1. You're unable to enjoy yourself, your mind is always thinking about something else, your to-do list or life's problems.

2. You've lost your sense of humour and find yourself in negative thought patterns.

3. You feel like you can't switch off and relax. This could even affect your sleep.

4. You feel irritable, and easily wound-up a lot of the time.

5. You're simultaneously overwhelmed and underwhelmed with life.

6. You experience fatigue, brain fog or difficulty making decisions.

7. You engage in subconscious coping behaviours like biting nails, smoking, grinding your feet or over-eating.

First of all, these are really common, so don't feel alone. You'd be surprised if you spoke to those around you about how they feel.

The difficulty can often be becoming aware of this, so take some time to think about how you feel and if there is room for improvement when to comes to stress management in your life.

When it comes to improving your stress management, the key is often not to expect to go from zero to hero overnight. Small, consistent habits will make the world of difference over time.

Here are some small, incremental changes you can make to start lowering your stress levels and returning to a state of relaxation, and ultimately, joy.

Lowering your Stress Levels

1. Develop a mindful practice. Stress is often the result of thinking about something that's happened in the past or worrying about something in the future. Finding a way to be present can anchor you in the moment and lower your stress levels.

2. Schedule time to relax. If you keep a tight schedule, phiscially add time in your diary to listen to a meditation track, read a book, take a bath or have a walk around the block.

3. Look after your physical health such as exercise, getting enough sleep and staying hydrated.

4. Share your thoughts, journalling or talking to someone else (like a friend, partner or professional) about what's on your mind can go a really long way to working through some of the things causing you stress.


So, as Stress Awareness Day approaches this year, take some time to think about how aware you are of your stress levels, and what you might be able to do to better manage it in your life.

If stress or anxiety is causing issues in your life and wellbeing then you can book a session with one of our team who will be glad to help you in any way that we can.

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