As each April since 1992, this month is dedicated to stress awareness.
So, what is stress and why is it important to be aware of it?
Stress is a natural physiological reaction that can be experienced when facing excessive physical, emotional or psychological pressures, whether at home or at work. If not managed, stress can have some serious consequences on your overall health, with illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases.
According to Dr Hans Selye, a pioneer scientist on stress and endocrinology, there are three phases to what he originally coined the general adaption syndrome (GAS) but is now known as the stress response:
1 – The Alarm Phase – when stress is only occasionally experienced and is of short duration.
2 – The Resistance Phase – when stress is persistent.
3 – The Exhaustion Phase – when stress level worsens and could lead to burnout or death.
There are a few measures that can be easily adopted to manage stress, such as being active, breathing exercises, meditation, journaling, talking with family and friends, and getting plenty of rest.
The NHS provides some useful tools to help you manage stress, including audio guides around positive thinking and better sleep. It is available at: https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/self-help/guides-tools-and-activities/tips-to-reduce-stress/
In conclusion, don’t let work or life get the better of you. Learn from the experiences you find stressful, including stress triggers and responses, and how to deal with them so that you can remain calm even in the most stressful situations. But most of all, be kind to yourself.