This blog is written by our clinicians and aims to keep patients informed with up to date information on medical conditions.
With it being Stress Awareness Month in April, it is the perfect time to talk about stress, its wide effects on the human body and share some top stress busting tips too.
Stress is incredibly common. A survey carried out in 2018 looking at 2000 Brits, from diverse backgrounds and of various ages, found that 37% of us feel stressed at least one day per week, equating to 4 days per month. Only 15% of responders said that they do not get stressed.1
Common causes of stress
Would it surprise you to hear that the most common causes of worry are money, work and health? 54% of people are also very worried about the impact of stress upon their health and this is a fair concern as the effects of stress upon our bodies is very real.
The effects of stress
Stress has the ability to affect every single part of you, from your thoughts, behaviours and feelings right through to body parts, causing aches and pains that at first are not always obviously related to stress.
For example, many of us find that we struggle to sleep when we are stressed or that we get tense in the neck or shoulders. But did you know that stress can also cause headaches, stomach symptoms and changes to your libido too?
It is not uncommon to visit your GP and find that there is no physical cause for those symptoms, but that it is in fact a result of stress.
Besides those physical symptoms, stress can leave you feeling very overwhelmed, struggling to focus and irritable. If you are exposed to repeated stress, you can develop mental health conditions such as anxiety and/or depression.
Relieve stress the healthy way
A big problem with the unrelenting stress many of us face day to day is that it is easy to turn to something quick and easy for comfort. But we know well that comfort eating, smoking, cannabis and consuming excessive amounts of alcohol will cause more harm than good in the medium and long term.
Stress busting tips
At ROC we’ve put together a few of our top stress busting tips.
Tip 1 – Build your stress kit
Find a few stress-busting activities that suit you. Having 2 or 3 options to hand that are quick and easy to turn to is ideal.
Tip 2 – Keep it varied
Many find that exercising is an excellent reliever of stress, but of course you can’t always head out for a quick game of tennis or a run. So it is good to also have a stress busting option that you can do whilst sitting at your desk or commuting to work, for example meditation or using an app such as Headspace or Calm, reading or listening to music.
Tip 3 – Stay out there
Stress can wear you down, make you feel tired and like you don’t want to socialise, but seeing friends and family is often one of the best stress busters. The distraction of a good laugh can help relieve the overwhelming feelings of stress.
Tip 4- Speak to someone
Whether it be a friend, family member or healthcare professional – reach out to someone you trust and open up a conversation about how you’re feeling. Often just speaking about it can be helpful, other times it might help you see ways out of the stress you are under.
Our GPs can talk to you about any physical or mental health concerns that you have and if you’re unsure whether your symptoms might be stress related or not, we are able to help you work that out. ROC clinic has links with some great psychologists, as well as alternative medicine providers too, and we pride ourselves on truly holistic care.
1. FORTH https://www.forthwithlife.co.uk/blog/great-britain-and-stress/ [online] Accessed 19/3/19