Stress has a bad press. According to the Health and Safety Executive, there were 9.9 million days taken off sick sue to stress in 2014/15. This is a staggering 43% off all sick days. Stress is a big issue.
There are many websites and therapists out there who can help you manage your stress levels. There are many relaxation techniques, diets and exercise regimes all of which can improve you ability to cope with stress. I've even included a free mp3 of my own in this newsletter to help manage stress
As you know, I specialise in helping clients with Anxiety, Depression and Stress. Whilst many clients come to me because they are under too much stress, what they actually have difficulty coping with is the anxiety, depression or shear mental exhaustion that they experience alongside the stress. It seems that the stress itself isn't the problem.
This fits in with the NHS Choices definition in that the negativity in stress isn't the stress itself, it's way we handle it.
So this first section helps you manage the negative effects of stress and later I'll take you through some novel ways of changing how you experience the stress itself.
1. Take some exercise.
Try to raise your heart rate gently for 30 minutes at least every other day. This could be anything from a brisk walk to jogging, going to the gym, swimming and so on. Not only does it put those stress hormones to good use, it's good for your health and fitness too. Research show that both of these can benefit your ability to cope.
2. Eat a healthier diet.
Even small changes can help. We often find that in stressful times, we eat 'comfort food'. Much of this derives from our unconscious mind associating certain types of food with being cared for and looked after. Many of us default back to chocolate, biscuits, cakes, chips, fast food as these take us back to childhood when someone was looking after us.
3. Make time to relax
Deliberately taking time out to relax helps you mind and your body to recover. You could try listening to music, reading, yoga, listen to a relaxation mp3.
Be aware - television, computers/laptops/tablets etc don't provide relaxation. They work more like a pause-button. You might stop thinking about the stress but it doesn't actually help you recover.
There's a lot of research about how mindfulness can help you cope. There's an excellent website, www.frantic-world.com which some people find really helpful alongside therapy. If meditation is for you, then this is a good place to look.
5. Check out the next section of this newsletter.
It can help to find other ways of thinking about stress. If you think about your own stresses differently, then the stresses themselves change. Done in a positive way, this can dramatically reduce the negative effects of your stress
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