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Many of us suffer from stress at some point in our lives - and it’s no surprise, with busy schedules to stick to, targets to reach and worries about the current economic situation.
And it’s a major problem, with reports showing that stress and chronic ill place in the workplace costs £100 billion a year.
Today is National Stress Awareness Day (NSAD) – and it’s a day that’s been organised by the charity International Stress Management Association (ISMA), to tackle problems caused by stress and eradicate them.
Speaking about the reasons that so many of us are stressed, Jessica Smyrl from International Stress Management Association UK, said: “At the moment one in five peopel are actually stressed, as far as health and safety statistics are concerned, and that is through the workforce.
“And a lot of it is just down to pace of life. It’s rush rush – you’re at the supermarket it’s rushed, you’re in the car, nobody has any patience for anybody else, and it’s just a build up of pressure - and it’s the pressure that actually leads to the stress.”
Jessica was keen to point out that some pressure is normal in every day life – it’s when it builds up that it becomes a problem.
She said: “We can actually cope with some pressure, you know if you’re going to an interview or something you get a wee burst of adrenaline and you can cope with that. After the interview you relax, and you’re OK. But when you’re actually stressed you end up it’s happening over and over again, you’ve got churning in your stomach…”
Some of the most common signs that you’re stressed include headaches, memory lapse, being easily distracted, worrying often, mood swings, feeling tearful, tired or emotional and suffering from relationship problems.
Blood pressure and heart rate are two good indicators of how stressed out you are. The ideal blood pressure levels should be 120 over 80 – but that fluctuations throughout the day are normal as we deal with different situations.
If you’re feeling stressed, Jessica pointed out that there are a few things you can do to help. Stressing the positives in a situation, thinking “I can do that” or “I’ll try to do that” can help, as can being more assertive in every day life, which can build up confidence levels.
Jessica also suggested creating a relaxation pack that includes a picture of a relaxing scene such as a beach, where you can imagine yourself when stressed, and a piece of paper which can be used to write all you troubles down to deal with in small segments, one at a time.
A cushion to rest on the small of your back or head, a candle, and a clock with a minute hand – which when watched can help you to relax – are also good aids for stress relief.