Stress Awareness Month has been held every April, since 1992 to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic. Despite this running for 29 years there is still a long way to go. According to the mental health foundation 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.
Millions of people around the UK experience high levels of stress and it is damaging our health. Stress is one of the great public health challenges of our time, but it still isn’t being taken as seriously as physical health concerns. Stress is a significant factor in mental health problems including anxiety and depression. It is also linked to physical health problems like heart disease, problems with our immune system, insomnia and digestive problems. Individually we need to understand what is causing us personal stress and learn what steps we can take to reduce it for ourselves and those around us.
One of the difficulties with stress is that people experience stress in different ways. This contributes to stress manifesting itself differently. So it would be wrong to over generalise when giving advice on how to identify stress in others. However, what we can say is that because stress has negative effects, it will usually manifest itself one way or another.
Stress targets the weakest part of our physiology or character; if you are prone to headaches or eczema, this will flare up. If you have low levels of patience or tolerance for others, this will be the first area to present under times of stress.
Stress isn’t avoidable but it is manageable. A key action in order to minimise risk is to identify stress-related problems as early as possible, so that action can be taken before serious stress-related illness occurs. There are several steps you can take to reduce the impact that stress might take on your physical and mental health which include:
For Further advice Distress to De-stress by Stress Management Society has some great tips and advice on how you can identify and reduce stress in your daily life.
How stressed are you take your free Individual Stress test here
If you feel you are struggling to cope with stress support is also available from your GP or NHS 111.