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Dealing with stress: Ways to manage the mind

Posted on October 30th 2023

As our natural defence against feeling threatened or under pressure, stress is something which we all experience but often don’t know how to deal with due to its overwhelming nature. 74% of people felt so stressed they were unable to cope according to a study carried out in 2018 by the Mental Health Foundation. (Stress: statistics | Mental Health Foundation)

This statistic alone emphasises the need to talk about the stress we may be experiencing on a regular basis, not just on Stress Awareness Day.

What is Stress?

Stress is a state of worry which is our body’s reaction to difficult situations or a change in circumstances. Due to excessive amounts of hormones being released when we are stressed, a fight or flight mechanism is exercised which prepares the body to confront or avoid danger. Small amounts of stress can be positive and used as motivation. However, large amounts of stress can lead to a negative reaction and feelings which adversely impact mood and behaviours significantly.
Stress isn’t always recognisable; it can affect us in a variety of ways with some indicators being more noticeable than others. It can heavily affect our emotions which may lead to feeling:

  • Anxious, hopeless, scared, or worried;
  •  Indecisive and overwhelmed;
  • Upset, angry, or irritable.

However, it can also have physical effects such as:

  • Stress rashes and skin reactions;
  • Headaches, muscle pain, and stomach problems;
  • Feeling nauseous, dizzy, or faint.

Causes of Stress

Everyone is different when it comes to the causes of stress and their reaction to it. This is the same for the thresholds of stress which various people can cope with. Some individuals may be able to tolerate a much larger amount of stress than others which is why talking about it is so important.

Some examples of potential underlying causes for stress are:

  • Financial issues;
  • Relationship issues or other personal problems;
  • Genetics and past experiences;
  • Sudden life events;
  • Feeling alone.

The detailed causes of stress are likely to be slightly different for everyone, but there are certain situations or items which everyone should avoid in order to minimise or at least limit their stress levels.

Things to Avoid

Certain behaviours can result in a negative impact on your stress levels and these should be avoided as much as possible. Those behaviours include:

  • Overworking and allowing no time to unwind;
  • Chasing perfection;
  • Excessive intake of sugar, caffeine, and alcohol;
  • Bottling up thoughts and feelings;
  • Spending large amounts of time in front of a screen

Positive Coping Strategies Against Stress

However, using self-care tips as a means of protection against stress can have a significant impact on how you feel. A few things to try are:

  • Keeping active;
  • Learning a new skill;
  • Taking time to have fun;
  • Switching off completely and making time for yourself;
  • Trying to talk about how you feel with others.

How we promote dealing with stress collectively here at Oliver & Co

  • We have a team of 7 fully trained mental health first aiders who all offer support to anyone who may be struggling;
  • There are a variety of posters pinned around the office promoting the coping mechanisms against stress in the form of the #addressthestress campaign produced by the Mental Health Foundation;
  • There is a regular drop-in service which is available to all Oliver & Co employees to discuss any concerns or worries in a confidential space and calm environment.

Call and speak to a member of our team on 01244 312306