Good mental health is just as important as good physical health. In fact it's common for people with a long-term physical issue to also have a mental health condition, and vice versa.
Stress is a common condition which affects your mental state. It is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure, and pressure turns into stress when you feel unable to cope. A bit of stress is normal and helps push you to do new or difficult things but too much stress can take its toll.
This Mental Health Awareness Week (14th May – 20th May) the Mental Health Foundation is taking a closer look at stress and how we can all learn to beat it. So why not take a few minutes to stop and ask yourself – “How am I coping with stress?”
While stress is not a mental health condition on its own, it can increase your risk of developing anxiety, depression and other conditions. Stress can affect how you feel emotionally, mentally and physically, and also how you behave. Stress can make you feel overwhelmed, anxious or irritable. You could have difficulties concentrating, cause sleepless nights and affect your diet. Our response to stress is an instinct that has been passed down from our ancient ancestors to protect us from danger. This reaction is commonly known as ‘fight or flight’.
This response can be triggered every day - at work, school or home. Young or old, male or female, everyone can experience it.
NHS Choices has some helpful tips to tackle stress:
- Be active – exercise can clear your mind and allow you to deal with problems more calmly.
- Take control - there's a solution to any problem. The act of taking control is empowering and it's a crucial part of finding a solution that satisfies you and not someone else.
- Connect with people - a good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your work troubles and help you see things in a different way.
- Have some 'me time'- set aside a couple of nights a week for quality time away from work.
- Avoid unhealthy habits – have a well-balanced diet and avoid caffeine, alcohol and smoking.
Dr Peter Bibawy, Acting Clinical Chair of NHS North East Hampshire and Farnham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Learning to cope with the stress of everyday life is important for your mental health. We all experience stress and by sharing experiences we can all support each other to take action and deal with stress together.
“So this Mental Health Week, help yourself and others to cope with stress. Feeling stressed is normal but doing our best to look after ourselves will protect our mental health now and in the future.”
For more information on Mental Health Awareness Week, click here.
For more information on local services that can offer help to individuals with mental health conditions please see the links below: