Managing the West's greatest Killer

Stress is the West’s greatest killer.

The following information has been taken from a UK Mental Health Organisation, read this and watch a short, but excellent video about how stress works by an American doctor. If you go to the above link you can download a free 26 A44 page book on stress.

How can I identify the signs of stress?

Everyone experiences stress. However, when it is affecting your life, health and wellbeing, it is important to tackle it as soon as possible, and while stress affects everyone differently, there are common signs and symptoms you can look out for:

  • feelings of constant worry or anxiety
  • feelings of being overwhelmed
  • difficulty concentrating
  • mood swings or changes in your mood
  • irritability or having a short temper
  • difficulty relaxing
  • depression
  • low self-esteem
  • eating more or less than usual
  • changes in your sleeping habits
  • using alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs to relax
  • aches and pains, particularly muscle tension
  • diarrhoea and constipation
  • feelings of nausea or dizziness
  • loss of sex drive.

Seven steps to help protect yourself from stress

  • Eat healthily. Eating healthily can reduce the risks of diet-related diseases ...
  • Be aware of smoking and drinking alcohol. Try not to, or reduce the amount you smoke and drink alcohol. ...
  • Exercise. ...
  • Be mindful. ...
  • Get some restful sleep. ...
  • Don't be too hard on yourself.

Three steps to take when feeling stressed

1. Realise when it is causing you a problem

  • Try to make the connection between feeling tired or ill and the pressures you are faced with
  • Look out for physical warnings such as tense muscles, over-tiredness, headaches or migraines

2. Identify the causes

  • Try to identify the underlying causes
  • Sort the possible reasons for your stress into three categories 1) those with a practical solution 2) those that will get better given time and 3) those you can’t do anything about
  • Try to release the worry of those in the second and third groups and let them go

3. Review your lifestyle

  • Could you be taking on too much?
  • Are there things you are doing which could be handed over to someone else?
  • Can you do things in a more leisurely way?
  • To act on the answer to these questions, you may need to prioritise things you are trying to achieve and re-organise your life
  • This will help to release pressure that can come from trying to do everything at once