Stress Awareness Month

Stress. A word that’s often banded about, but what does it actually mean and what can be done to lessen the impact of it on day-to-day life? Can stress even be a good thing?

According to Oxford Dictionary:

Stress (noun)

A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.

So there we have it, stress is the word that many use when they’re describing how the demands of their life seem to be becoming too great for them to cope with. But now what? Surely it’s a sign that you’re doing too much, it’s going to affect your health, relationships and other aspects of your life, which could lead to even more stress? A vicious cycle, perhaps?

Not always, says

“Some stress can be positive. Research shows that a moderate level of stress makes us perform better. It also makes us more alert and can help us perform better in situations such as job interviews or public speaking. Stressful situations can also be exhilarating and some people actually thrive on the excitement that comes with dangerous sports or other-high risk activities.”

But other authorities make the the point that it's pressure that can motivate and improve performance, while stress is always "adverse", unwelcome, uncomfortable and performance-limiting.

However, they all agree that stress is a highly individual experience; some stress is inevitable and that short-lived stress will usually have no health impact. Ongoing or extreme stress can take its toll on your home and working life. In fact, in Great Britain during 2015/16, more than 11 million working days were lost to stress, anxiety or depression.

We’ve pulled together some useful links which can offer you authoritative advice on how to manage stress. Remember that the ability to cope with stress varies from person to person and what one person finds stressful may not be a problem for another.

There’ll also be lots of chat about this on social media over the next few weeks, as April is #StressAwarenessMonth.

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