Louise's top tips for combating stress

12 April 2019

"I love it when the clocks go forward; being able to get outside and enjoy the longer, lighter evenings makes such a difference and is a great stress buster, which is timely as April is Stress Awareness Month."

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. There are many ways to help manage stress. Something that works for somebody else might not work for you, it's all about finding out which is best for you. 

Exercise can help to relieve stress, and it’s good for your well-being. It can improve your mood, give you a sense of achievement and help you release tension. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins (the hormones that make you feel good). Take a walk or get some fresh air during the day as both exercise and daylight are good for both your mental and physical health.

There are other things you can try to help deal with and manage your stress better.

  • Manage your time better and prioritise more important jobs first
  • Lead a healthy lifestyle – eat a healthy balanced diet, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep
  • Know your limits – don’t take on too much
  • Find out what makes you feel stressed and try to change your thoughts and behaviour to reduce it. It might help to talk things over with friends or family
  • Accept the things you can’t change and concentrate on the things you have control over
  • Make time for the activities you enjoy and for the things that make you feel relaxed. You’re more likely to neglect this area of your life if you’re stressed
  • Find time to meet friends
  • Develop a positive thinking style – try to look at a problem differently or discuss it with someone
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol, or caffeine, or use tobacco or illegal drugs as a way to cope. In the long term, these things will only make you feel worse

Some people find that meditative approaches can help to reduce stress and anxiety. These include things like:

  • Mindfulness
  • Meditation – this can help you learn to reduce anxious thoughts and become calmer
  • Yoga or tai chi – these help you control your breathing and relax your mind
  • Relaxation techniques

You can also learn techniques to manage your stress from self-help books, podcasts and CDs or by attending a stress management course.

There aren’t any medicines to treat stress. Things like changing the way you approach your life, counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) may help you cope better. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking treatment that can help treat stress. It looks at how situations can lead to thoughts that affect your feelings and behaviour. It aims to change the way you think and behave, and helps you to challenge negative thoughts or feelings. 

Explore the options available and find a solution that fits you, your lifestyle, work and personality. There’s no right or wrong approach as everyone reacts to stress in different ways. And different approaches will work for different people.

For more information or to book your Bupa health assessment call 0345 600 3458.

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