4th November: National Stress Awareness Day

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This National Stress Awareness Day, we wanted to highlight the reasons behind why we can feel stressed and what we can do to manage these feelings.

We all know what it’s like to feel stressed – being under pressure is a normal part of life. But becoming overwhelmed by stress can lead to mental health problems or make existing problems worse.

What causes stress?

Feelings of stress are normally triggered by things happening in your life which involve:

  • being under lots of pressure
  • facing big changes
  • worrying about something
  • not having much or any control over the outcome of a situation
  • having responsibilities that you’re finding overwhelming
  • not having enough work, activities or change in your life
  • times of uncertainty.

There might be one big thing causing you stress, but stress can also be caused by a build-up of small pressures. This might make it harder for you to identify what’s making you feel stressed, or to explain it to other people.

Why do certain things make me feel stressed?

The amount of stress you feel in different situations may depend on many factors such as:

  • your perception of the situation – this might be connected to your past experiences, your self-esteem, and how your thought processes work (for example, if you tend to interpret things positively or negatively)
  • how experienced you are at dealing with that particular type of pressure
  • your emotional resilience to stressful situations
  • the amount of other pressures on you at the time
  • the amount of support you are receiving.

We’re all different, so a situation that doesn’t bother you at all might cause someone else a lot of stress. For example, if you’re feeling confident or usually enjoy public speaking, you might find that giving a speech in front of people feels comfortable and fun. But if you’re feeling low or usually prefer not to be the centre of attention, this situation might cause you to experience signs of stress.

What kind of situations can cause stress?

Stress can be caused by a variety of different common life events, many of which are difficult to avoid. For example:

  • illness or injury
  • bereavement
  • long-term health problem
  • going through a break up or divorce
  • losing your job
  • housing problems such as poor living conditions, lack of security or homelessness
  • worries about money or benefits

How can I deal with stress?

There are various steps you can take to cope with being under pressure. This page gives some tips that people have told us they find useful, but it’s important to remember that different things work for different people:

  • Identify your triggers – working our what triggers stress can help you anticipate problems and think of ways to solve them. Being prepared for problems can help.
  • Organise your time – make a list of things you have to do, identify the best time of the day that works for you, set small achievable targets, and try not to do everything at once
  • Address some of the causes – although there will be lots of things in life that you can’t do anything about, there might be some practical ways you could resolve or improve some issues. Take a look at these useful resources on national Mind’s website.
  • Accept the things you can’t change – it’s not easy, but accepting that there are some things happening that you may not be able to do much about will help you focus your time and energy more productively.

If you need extra support during this time, we may be able to help. We can help with things like depression, anxiety and stress. Give us a call on 01206 764600 or visit our ‘How we can help’ webpage.