Stress and poor mental health are one of the biggest public health challenges that we’re facing. Sadly, even though that is the case, we are still not taking its impact seriously enough. We continue to separate mental health from physical health and vice versa. The reality is they cannot be separate – they are two sides of the same coin. There is no health without mental health and stress can lead to numerous health problems. From physical problems, like heart disease, insomnia, digestive issues, immune system challenges, etc to more serious mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression.
One of the difficulties with stress is that people experience stress in different ways. This contributes to stress manifesting itself differently. So it would be wrong to over generalize when giving advice on how to identify stress in others. However, what we can say is that because stress has negative effects, it will usually manifest itself one way or another.
Stress targets the weakest part of our physiology or character; if you are prone to headaches or eczema, this will flare up. If you have low levels of patience or tolerance for others, this will be the first area to present under times of stress.
Stress isn’t avoidable but it is manageable. A key action in order to minimise risk is to identify stress-related problems as early as possible, so that action can be taken before serious stress-related illness occurs.
How Stress Can Affect You or Someone You Know
When the body senses a threat (or stressor), it goes on high alert, and once the threat passes, the body quickly recovers. At least that's the way it's supposed to work. Stressors can include health matters, work, money, family issues, racism or gender inequality, and regular daily hassles. With unrelenting or too many stressors, your body might be on a constant state of high alert, leading to poor concentration, bad moods, professional burnout, and mental and physical health problems. When stress becomes chronic, the body cannot return to normal functioning. Chronic stress can be linked with health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression and anxiety.
Actions Changes Things, ACT Now.
Things You Can Do:
Talk about Stress and it’s effects – lets work together to reduce the stigma that is associated with stress by talking about the topic openly and freely with friends, family and colleagues.
Share your coping mechanisms – if something has worked for you why not share it. It might benefit someone you care about and in the meantime, it might help you take your focus off your own challenges.
Be nice to those who are stressed and anxious – we are all undoubtedly going to experience stress and anxiety in our lifetime so treat others going through it with compassion and empathy.
Look after yourself – we all need to think more about self–care. Take time out of your day to relax or do something that you enjoy. Don’t forget to exercise and eat well, even when you feel too stressed.
It's critical to recognize what stress and anxiety look like. The most crucial thing you can do when you are stressed or anxious is to make sure you are continuing to look after yourself. Make time to relax when you need to and learn to say no to requests that are too much for you.
Managing stress is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Knowing how to manage stress can improve mental and physical well-being as well as minimize health-related issues. Stress is unavoidable. Now more than ever, it's important to understand stress and how we can manage it
National Stress Awareness Day is meant to raise awareness of the causes and cures for our modern-day stress epidemic. It is the time when we have an opportunity for an open conversation on the impact of stress. Dedicated time to removing the guilt, shame, and stigma around mental health. To talk about stress, and its effects and open up about our mental and emotional state concerns, contact us at Comprehensive Family Care.
How stress affects us. The Stress Management Society. (2017, August 29). https://www.stress.org.uk/how-it-affects-us/
Stress awareness month: 7 ways to manage stress and build resilience. Summit Medical Group. (n.d.). https://www.summitmedical.com/blog/stressmonth2023