When we encounter a stressful situation in our daily lives, our natural ‘fight or flight’ reaction kicks in automatically, flooding our bodies with adrenaline to allow us to cope with the threat.
But after the moment has passed, our bodies can stay in a state of heightened alert – resulting in physical and mental health issues.
Read on to discover some tips for coping with stress and take our stress quiz to find out how stressed you are.
How does stress affect our bodies?
Stress can have a negative effect on our health because our bodies react to stressful situations physically as well as mentally.
Physical symptoms can include headaches, muscle pain, sleep problems, dizziness, feeling tired all the time or eating too much or too little.
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You may also notice that your behaviour changes – you feel overwhelmed, irritable, anxious and lacking in self-esteem. Your thoughts race and you find it hard to concentrate or make decisions. Read more about the symptoms of stress on the NHS website.
How stressed are you? Take our personality test to find out
9 ways to reduce your stress levels
Manage your external pressures
Are you taking on too much responsibility? Are there any commitments you can drop? Don’t worry about letting people down, your health is the most important thing
Develop your emotional resilience
Building this essential skill will help you cope with stressful situations when they come up. You can find some great tips for this on the Mind website.
Use mindfulness techniques
You can learn to accept your thoughts without judging them by living in the moment.
Get regular exercise
Exercise can help to reduce your stress levels and help you keep your anxiety in check.
Address your anxiety
Stress and anxiety often go hand-in-hand, so it’s worth taking time to work on your anxiety. This anxiety control video is a good starting point.
Identify your stressors
Stressors are essentially any situation that causes us to feel stressed, so it’s a good idea to jot down what you think your stressors are. Once you’ve done that, you can work out how to address them.
Find your most productive time of day
Identify when you get the most done and get your most important tasks out of the way then.
Organise your tasks
Write a list of everything you know you need to do that day and number them from most important to least important. Getting the most important work done will help you feel more in control.
Accept the things you can’t change
This is a tricky one, but it helps to accept the things you can’t change in your life and concentrate on those you can.