How are you feeling? Stressed? You are not alone. A 2018 study by YouGov found that 74% of adults reported feeling stressed in the past year leaving them overwhelmed and unable to cope.
The causes of stress are vast and varied and might include health, debt, the cost of living, housing, job security, feeling the need to be successful, comparing your self to others and instantly responding to messages and social media.
Some of these are ‘classic’ stresses, if you like, and have been playing on the minds of many for centuries; but some, such as the success, the comparison and the responding to messages are relatively modern day stresses. It’s good to remember that new technology and connectivity can bring both positive and negative points.
Often we feel stressed when we feel out of control or that we are losing control of a situation. Some things in life we truly are unable to control, but even the stress of these things can be lessened by talking about your feeling or writing them down in a rational way. Stress can build to insurmountable mountains in our minds, when in reality the mountain is more of a molehill.
Stress can manifest itself in behavioural effects: increased eating or unhealthy eating; increased drinking, and increased smoking. It can also present in the physical symptoms of panic attacks, sleep problems, or chest pains and high blood pressure.
So what can we do about it? Managing our stress is the key; trying to stay away from stressful situations, talking about our problems and seeking help are all good steps to take.
A vital part of the stress-less journey is learning to say no, and that it’s OK to turn off and take some time out. Relax with some meditation, aromatherapy or reflexology. A long soak in the bath, a natter with friends and a hearty belly laugh are all excellent stress busters too.
It feels easier to hide our head in the sand when faced with a stressful situation, but facing a problem head on is often the most effective way of dealing with it. Pick up the phone and make that call; do things now rather than tomorrow; put yourself out on a limb and you may be pleasantly surprised.
If stresses are particularly coming from the very modern problem of over exposure to social media and information, it might be a good idea to set some boundaries. Have phone time and non-phone time. Use apps to help limit time on social media and remember that most of what we see online is not real life. Look within for stillness and up at the amazing world around us.