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How to Manage Stress: Stress Management Techniques to Cope With Stress

What is stress? Stress is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure. It can be caused by anything from an overwhelming work life to a change in a relationship.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, their 2018 study found that 74% of people in the past year suffered with stress to the point of being overwhelmed or unable to cope. Navigating and juggling life under stress is difficult and can have negative physical and emotional effects. To help alleviate these issues, we’ve put together a list of tips, recommended by the NHS, to prevent and limit these unhappy experiences.

Disclaimer: Please note that if you are feeling continuously stressed, you should reach out to your doctor for medical advice and support. 

Connect with people

Connect with people

Positive relationships and a good support network are crucial to keeping mentally healthy. Talking about your problems can help to reduce the feeling of pressure on you – whether it’s discussing how you feel with your family and friends, or even seeking help from a therapist. With the right kind, positive connections can:

  • Enhance your sense of self-worth and belonging
  • Enable you to share positive experiences with those you spend time with
  • Give you emotional support and allow you to help others in turn

How you can do this:

  • Set a date in the diary to meet up with friends
  • Volunteer a charity shop or find a community garden to tend to
  • Keep a positive and open mind when seeking help from your confidants

Top tip: Video chat apps like Zoom and WhatsApp are wonderful ways of staying in contact with loved ones when socialising in person is not possible. If you struggle with using technology, we have easy-to-follow video guides you can use to get started. However, it is important to not rely on technology for all communication.

Get active

Get active

Being physically active is a great way to keep your body fit and healthy – but did you know it’s also been proven to improve your mental wellbeing as well? Evidence suggests regular exercise:

  • Raises self-esteem
  • Improves cognitive function
  • Releases endorphins that trigger positive emotions
  • Clears your mind of overwhelming thoughts

How you can do this:

Top tip: Once you’ve exercised, make sure to relax your muscles with hot bath or shower. Set a sleep schedule to make sure you are getting your recommended amount of rest, as a cycle of no sleep can lead to further stress.

Slow down and take time for yourself

Slow down and take time for yourself

Modern life can be overwhelming – so it is essential to find small ways to slow down. Whether it’s taking a break with yoga or cooking up a storm in the kitchen, set aside time for your hobbies and the things you enjoy. This will help you to:

  • Connect with others through shared interests
  • Boost your self-confidence by challenging yourself
  • Have a purpose for your day by striving for something to achieve

How you can do this:

  • Look for online or in-person courses
  • Discover a new hobby that will feel like a challenge
  • Take up DIY & use YouTube tutorials to help you
  • Try a new recipe that is out of your comfort zone

By slowing down and taking time for yourself, you can identify what is triggering your stress. You could even keep a journal and make note of stressful situations to realise what you need to avoid to effectively manage stress in life and at work.

Top tip: You shouldn’t force yourself into something you don’t find interesting – if you enjoy what you’re learning, you’re a lot more likely to continue with it.

Be kind to others

Be kind to others

Acts of kindness have been proven to help your mental wellbeing, as they:

  • Help you to connect with others
  • Reduce the effort and time you can spend overthinking
  • Provide a sense of reward in making someone else happy
  • Boost feelings of purpose and self-worth

How you can do this:

  • Smile at people you meet
  • Ask people how they are
  • Spend time with people who need a little extra support and love
  • Offer to help someone with a DIY project
  • Volunteer at a school fair, hospital, community centre or charity shop
  • Pick up shopping for a neighbour

Learn Mindfulness

Learn mindfulness

Mindfulness might seem like a recent invention, but it has been around for thousands of years in different forms. It’s a great stress relieving technique as it helps you to:

  • Pay more attention to the present moment
  • Focus on your breathing, which will make you feel less anxious
  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Boost your working memory
  • Strengthen your ability to focus

How you can do this:

  • Be more accepting of yourself and others
  • Try to have a trusting & patient mindset
  • Practice gratitude
  • Be generous
  • Pay more attention to your own thoughts
  • Keep a regular meditation routine

Experts believe that mindfulness encourages change on a deeper level by positively changing the brain’s structure. If you’d like more information about mindfulness and how you can get started, we’d recommend reading our article, A Beginner’s Guide to Mindfulness.

Life can be stressful – it’s inevitable. At some point, even the calmest of us will experience stress. We hope that by following our recommendations above, you can move towards being more relaxed and happy.

Try talking about your feelings to a family member, friend, GP or counsellor. The Samaritans are also always there to listen, you can call: 116 123 or email: jo@samaritans.org if you need someone to talk to.

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