Research has shown that two thirds of us experience a mental health problem in our lifetimes, and stress is a key factor in this. Stress isn’t considered to be a mental health problem but it can lead to depression, anxiety, self-harm and even suicide if it isn't managed.
Is stress a problem for you? Here are a few things to think about to understand if stress is affecting you.
Are you under more pressure than usual?
Being aware of the physical signs of stress is important. If you are feeling tired or ill, could stress be a cause? Headaches, migraines and tense muscles can all be signs of stress. Consider if you are under more pressure than usual when you are tired or unwell because if you know stress is a cause then you can try to reduce its effects.
What are the causes?
Try to sort out which of the three types of stress are affecting you:
- Does your stress have a practical solution that you can do something about? Can you ask someone to help you with your obligations? Can you ask a friend or supporter for advice? Do your tasks need to do be done immediately or can you do a little bit at a time?
- Are you suffering from the kind of stress that will get better over time? Is there a particular event you are worried about but once it is over you will be okay? Are you particularly busy at the moment, but know that your schedule will be easier next week? If you know there is an end to your stress in the near future then you can keep going on the knowledge that this is only a short-term stressful situation.
- Is the cause of your stress something you can’t do anything about? Try to let go of the stress of the causes you can’t do anything about. Mindfulness is a good technique for this.
Are you taking on too much?
Look at your lifestyle and assess if there are changes you can make to reduce your stress levels. Are there things you are doing that you could ask a friend or supporter to help you with? Can you take your time and not rush through things? Do you need to change your priorities? You can’t do everything at once so try to focus on what you really want to achieve.
If you are interested in looking more closely at your stress levels, you can test your stress with this online quiz on the Mental Health Foundation website.
There are several courses at the Nottingham Recovery College to help you manage your stress, such as Anxiety Management; Introduction to Mindfulness; Advanced Relaxation; 5 Ways to Wellbeing and Getting a Good Night’s Sleep. Please check out our prospectus for more details and enrol via our website or call us on 0115 956 0827.