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Health Matters: Stress Awareness Month

Health Matters: Stress Awareness Month
15 April 2019

Dr Ian Hulme, GP with Meadowside Medical Centre, Congleton and clinical lead for mental health, NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group

Stress is a major contributor to ill health with 74 per cent of people in the UK saying they have felt so stressed they have felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.

April is Stress Awareness Month and that’s why I’m urging anyone that is suffering from stress to seek help to reduce their stress levels and help improve mental and physical health.

People can experience stress for many different reasons such as work, family life or worrying about money. Stress can lead to a number of serious health problems including high blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia and depression.

 If you are feeling stressed, it is important that you find ways to manage it. This can be done by exercising more, improving your time management, taking a holiday, or even just finding a little time for yourself.

Research into stress suggests that there are five steps that everyone can take to develop their emotional strength, de-stress and improve mental wellbeing. These are:

  • Connect – invest time in developing your relationships with your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours
  • Be active – take a walk, go cycling or play a game of football. Find an activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your life
  • Keep learning – developing new skills can give you a sense of achievement and build confidence. Why not sign up for a course or develop a new skill?
  • Give to others – volunteering for a good cause or helping a neighbour can improve your mood, boost emotional wellbeing and help you build new social networks.
  • Be mindful – be more aware of the present moment, including your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. Some people call this "mindfulness". It can change your feelings about life for the better and help you approach challenges positively.

If life is getting you down, Mind can help you with everyday issues that affect your mental wellbeing, as well as professional support for more serious mental health difficulties. You can reach them on 0300 123 3393 or at mind.org.uk.