Stress… Are you coping?

April is National Stress Awareness Month – an annual campaign dedicated to raising awareness about stress, what we can do to reduce it and the support available.

Stress is the feeling of being under too much pressure mentally or emotionally feeling like you are unable to cope.

Many of life’s demands can cause stress, for example work, relationships or money. We all know what it’s like to feel stressed – being under pressure is a normal part of life. However, becoming overwhelmed by stress can lead to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression and can cause physical health issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and insomnia.

When you feel stressed, it can get in the way of dealing with your problems and can even affect everything you do. 

You can't always prevent stress, but there are lots of things you can do to manage it better, individually we need to understand what causes us personal stress and learn what steps we can take to reduce it for ourselves and those around us. We met up Anthony Newton, psychotherapist and counsellor, from the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust to find out his top five techniques for coping with stress and how to reduce it.

Anthony's top tips... 
1. Stop - become aware of the fact that you are feeling stressed and give yourself a time out. When you are stressed it’s because you may be confronted with a problem/s. You may not able to find a solution in that exact moment.

2. Talk - talk to someone, a therapist, your employer, a friend or family member, don’t suffer in silence and bottle things up. Other people may be able to help and support you. 

3. Breathe - slowing down your breath can help you slow down your mind, which will make you more able to deal with stressful situations. 

4. Exercise - start small, go for a brisk walk or a short jog initially. If there's an exercise you did previously, maybe pick that up again. You can also speak to your GP who can consult you on what may be the best thing fro you.  

5. Have fun! - call someone and do something you enjoy. Anything from being in nature, going to the cinema or booking your next flight! 

Visit www.nhs.uk/moodzone for more tips and resources.