For many of us it is difficult to avoid stress. However, we are not designed to be in a constant state of stress. Unfortunately, our modern environment puts us in constant ‘fight or flight mode’ with little time to rest and recharge. We are working longer hours, living apart from friends and family. Never before have we felt so disconnected. Despite living in a country with almost 67 million, it can still feel very lonely. Mental health problems are at an all-time high and individuals with mental health issues are at the highest risk of physical illness and disease.
High levels of one of the key stress hormones, Cortisol, affect our blood sugar and blood pressure levels. Inflammation is increased. Blood becomes sticker and more likely to clot, causing strokes, heart attacks and clotting problems such as deep vein thrombosis.
It also affects our immune system making us more vulnerable to infections.
Whilst we can’t eradicate stress, we can look at ways to minimise it and change our response to it.
- To combat the effects of stress we must nurture our bodies with real food, ensure enough sleep and try and spend time outside, ideally in a green space.
- Exercise such as Yoga, Pilates or Tai Chi are not only forms of strength training but can also be very restorative. Walking or running can also be great ways to help clear a busy mind.
- Are we making time to connect with the people that matter to us and make us feel good?
- Think about your current work life balance. Does it feel like you have the right balance? Are you getting proper breaks?
- Think about how much screen time you are having. Is Social Media making you feel everyone is living their best life and you aren’t? (Spoiler alert Instagram isn’t real life)
- Do you still have time for hobbies and to do things that make you happy. Can you think of any jobs that can be outsourced?
Read Dr Rangan Chatterjee’s Stress Solution book.
Some people find podcasts helpful, doing guided meditations.
There are also useful apps for calm and headspace on the App Store
Action for happiness is movement for positive social change. People come together from all walks of life to work towards creating a happier society. This is a wonderful website that helps us understand how we can combat stress by applying a few simple measures.