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Focusing on stress on World Mental Health Day

It’s World Mental Health Day today and we’re taking a look at stress and how to cope with it.

We all know what stress feels like. We’re overwhelmed, wound up, racing thoughts, constantly worrying, headaches, being tired all the time, and drinking or smoking more.

Our stress may be about work, family, housing or money concerns, or a combination of all of these.

But whatever is causing you stress, the important message from current research is that to beat it, you have to tackle the cause and take back control. And if the reason for stress is not possible to change, you may need to accept that nothing can be changed and refocus your energy and efforts elsewhere.

Top 10 Stress Busters

Be active. It won’t make your stress disappear but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity you’re feeling, and it will clear your thoughts and let you deal with your problems more calmly.

Take control. Evidence suggests the feeling of loss of control is one of the main causes of stress and lack of wellbeing. Taking control in itself is empowering and is crucial to help you find a solution that satisfies you and not someone else.

Connect with people. Having a good support network can help you cope better and see things in a different light. Have “me time”. Set aside some time during the week to socialise, exercise or relax.

Challenge yourself. Setting yourself a goal will help to build confidence.

Avoid unhealthy habits. Don’t rely on alcohol or smoking to help you cope. It might provide temporary relief but it won’t make the problems disappear.

Help other people. Research shows that people who help out in the community through volunteering become more resilient. If you don’t have time to volunteer, do someone a favour when you can. It sounds simple, but the evidence suggests that the more you give, the happier you feel and the more resilient you become.

Work smarter, not harder. Prioritise your work and concentrate on the tasks that will make a real difference.

Try to be positive. We don’t always appreciate what we’ve got. Aim to see that the glass is half full.

Accept the things you can’t change. Sometimes things can’t be changed and you might need to accept this and, instead, focus on what you can control.

It’s good, well-researched advice from the NHS although not always easy to follow when stress levels are soaring. But remembering some of these tips might help.

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