One day you feel like you’re on top of the world and on the next there’s a brutally heavy weight on your shoulders and it’s dragging you down so deep that you’ve forgotten how to get up, it’s become your norm.
Stress affects almost everyone in one way or another and it is our bodies way of responding to certain situations.
Whether you’re late for a career changing meeting or you’ve forgot to pick up a pack of pampers for your little one, there are various triggers for stress and it affects everyone differently.
Stress is the bodies way of reacting to certain situations whether they are positive or negative.
The key thing to remember is that it’s completely normal to feel stressed and you are not alone. Whatever it is you are going through, it will get better and the storm will eventually pass no matter how rough the ride is.
How do I know if I am stressed?
When you’re stressed your body goes into fight or flight mode. Your breathing is quicker, your heart is heavier, and you are sweating which may be because you are feeling stressed.
There are various other symptoms of stress and they are all subjective to every person. You usually get an innate sense that you are feeling stressed but other symptoms of stress include:
- Aches, pains and tense muscles
- Low energy
What do I do if I am feeling stressed?
Here are some of the self-help techniques you can use if you are feeling stressed.
Meditation and Mindfulness
Being aware of everything going on around you is called mindfulness. Alongside meditation, it is an exercise that reduces your stress levels and should be practised daily.
Meditation has been proven to be such a powerful stress reducing exercise. Though it doesn’t dissolve your thoughts, it takes your mind to a place where your thoughts are mere particles floating in the air.
Practice a Hobby
Everyone has something they like to do when they are feeling low or stressed. Some of us jump into a world of fantasy and fiction through a book or a film whilst others prefer a shopping spree in the Potteries.
Whatever it is that floats your boat and keeps your mind occupied is worth doing. Keeping engaged in hobbies gives your mind the chance to focus on something that will lift your spirits and ultimately reduce your stress levels.
There’s nothing more rewarding than having a connection with someone and no, we’re not talking romantically.
By volunteering, you are spending time helping someone else and building a meaningful bond with them through supporting them.
Whether it’s at a care home or your local community centre, volunteering will give you a chance to socialise with other people and build your confidence.
Volunteering gives you a sense of purpose as well as improving both your physical and mental health.
If you have tried self-help techniques to deal with stress but it just isn’t working, then it’s important to talk to your friends and family or see your GP as soon as possible.
Alternatively you can self-refer yourself for psychological therapy.
Here are Staffordshire university student, Matt Williams’ top 5 tips to reduce stress: