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Help I’m Stressed – How to live a longer life.

Stress affects all of us at some point in Body & Mind. For some of us this will involve minor issues, but others may endure a lifelong battle to avoid feeling stressed and to reach a point where relaxation can be experienced. If we know what our unique stress points are and what to do about them, then we can relax. If we relax more we are happier and are healthier in mind and body.

There are important aspects to consider when we are looking at stress management.
What are the particular causes and symptoms of our stress?

Symptoms of stress

Stress is a response by both mind and body to both too much AND too little pressure.

We can break symptoms of stress down into 3 main stages.

1. The initial stage where we speed up; for example, we may talk and eat quickly.
2. Erratic sleeping, loss of energy. Migraine, headaches, irritability, indigestion.
3. Depression and anxiety, chest pains, palpitations, tiredness and lack of motivation. 4. Physical or mental exhaustion.

Causes of Stress – What are the areas of our life that cause stress?

1. Money issues
2. Workplace
3. Relationships
4. Health/ general relaxation


1. Causes of Stress – Money issues

Let’s face it; few of us have enough money – or at least feel we have enough. On a practical level there is a need to budget and included in the budget should be some money set aside for pleasure! If there is a cycle of overspending (see compulsive overspending) this needs specialist help. Ask yourself if you have a poverty mentality which means living in constant fear about money. This can range from feeling you will lose your house to scanning the newspapers for possible signs of misfortune. The reasons behind poverty mentality are manifold and can nearly always be traced back to childhood. Ask yourself what were your parents’ views about money.
Look at what you have of value. Are your cupboards really empty, or are they actually full?

2. Causes of Stress – Workplace

This can be divided into two main areas, namely stress surrounding workload and stress surrounding bullying or abuse.

Sometimes a high workload can last just for a short time – perhaps to complete a particular project. While this can undoubtedly be stressful, because there is a completion date we know when the temporary stress will end.  A certain amount of healthy stress can be good for us – and it can even be exciting. I would always recommend that at the end of any stress you plan in a treat for yourself. This doesn’t have to be anything grand – it could be cooking your favourite meal or watching your favourite film. The point is that you are telling yourself that you are doing this as a treat, because you deserve it.

Bullying in the workplace is actually quite common. When it’s happening to you it can feel like you are the only person in the world who is dealing with this. You wonder which colleagues you can trust and if you are unsure, this can lead to a feeling of isolation.

There are many things that can be done to overcome this. Firstly, it is important to know that you have some control over the situation.

I have participated for many years in workplace mediation I have seen at first hand the devastating effect bullying and abuse can have on people’s lives.

On a practical level you need to talk to someone in your organisation, such as HR or occupational health. Keep a journal of your feelings, and use this as a place to offload.

Ask for mediation. Be assertive (see articles on assertiveness).
List all your qualities and abilities. Remember you are still the same person and no one can take that from you. Write an advert for yourself, perhaps starting with “I am a person who…..”
There may also be a level of stress as a result of “game playing” at work (see article on games).

3. Causes of Stress –  Relationships

We all have relationships – relationships at work, with friends or with partners. These relationships can be the most exciting and also the most frustrating part of our lives.
List all your relationships. Think carefully about each one and ask yourself honestly whether you want that person in your life. Ask yourself why those that are there are still there. Is there a reason why you want to keep them, or would it be better to decide to end certain relationships?
Who are the people you want in your life? Ask yourself for each person you have named whether he or she uplifts you or whether he or she drains you. If you feel drained, ask what you gain from the relationship. It’s fine to be completely selfish whilst doing this exercise!
Who is your support network? You need to be able to ask directly for help when you need it, and, most importantly, be open to accepting it!! Ensure those people you value know that you value them.

4 Causes of Stress – Health

Physical health
Enough sleep at the correct time is very important. We have varying sleep patterns, but on average we need eight hours a night. Being awake all night and sleeping during the day goes against our natural body clock – ask anyone who works night shifts. Of course, quality of sleep is also important.

Look at what you do before you sleep. Are you rested and prepared for sleep? Excessive alcohol rarely leads to a good night’s sleep. Few of us take the time to prepare for sleep and yet a bad night’s sleep leaves us feeling irritable and groggy.
Your room should be dark, cool and quiet, and not cluttered. Do you have your mobile phone by your bed?  It is best to have no electrical equipment near your head – not even a digital alarm clock.

Mental health
Life is often busy, and it’s easy to go from one day to the next without relaxing. Plan in your relaxation.  Even with a busy family life, time for yourself is invaluable. Know what you will do, be it taking a relaxing bath, listening to music, or just doing nothing!

If you don’t really know what relaxation is for you, take some time to decide so that when you have the option you won’t spend the whole valuable time deciding how to relax.

Acknowledge that this is time for you, and it’s important because you are important.

Managing Stress, Symptoms of Stress, Causes of Stress – Money, Relationships, Workload, Bullying, Abuse, Physical, Mental Health. Assertiveness, Assertive Behaviour & Relaxation to Combat Stress. Manchester, Bolton, Wigan, Leigh, Preston, Blackburn, Burnley, Bury, Rochdale, Oldham, Lancashire, North West.