This week (14th – 20th May 2018) is Mental Health Awareness Week, and the theme this year is Stress. Research has shown that two thirds of us experience a mental health problem in our lifetime, and stress has been found to be a significant factor in this. By tackling stress we can go a long way in tackling mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
Stress is our bodies way of responding to various forms of pressure, demand or threat. When we sense danger our bodies defence systems, such as the ‘fight or flight’ reaction or the ‘stress response’ automatically kicks in, as a way of protecting us. Within certain situations stress can be beneficial, even motivational, helping us rise to challenges and remain alert and focused. However, if stress builds up beyond a certain point, this can stop being constructive and can begin to impact upon our mood, health, relationships and quality of life.
Below are some ways we can try to manage stress:
Getting enough sleep:
There is a close relationship between sleep and mental health, and stress can often affect how well you sleep. However, getting enough sleep can help you to feel more able to deal with difficult situations. Try to establish a regular sleep routine by going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time each day. The use of bright screens on phones or laptops prior to sleep has been found to negatively impact upon sleep quality; therefore try to give yourself an hour or so of tech-free time prior to bed, to help you to prepare for sleep.
You may also find a relaxation routine can help you to prepare for sleep, such as muscle relaxation, meditation or breathing exercises. Check out some mindfulness videos at www.togmind.org.
Being physically active is important for both our physical health and our mental health. Doing small regular physical activity, such as going for a walk, may help you to feel less stressed and can also promote better sleep quality.
Together Project – Stress, Anxiety and Worry Management Therapeutic Course.
At TOG Mind as part of our Together Project we offer a 4 week therapeutic course (2 hours a week) which focuses specifically on Stress, Anxiety and Worry Management. As part of this course you will explore biological causes of stress including the ‘fight or flight’ response, alongside exploring ways to manage a panic attack. This course also provides an opportunity to learn calming breathing and progressive muscle relaxation techniques. For more information please visit our website at www.togmind.org
Counselling offers a safe, confidential, non-judgemental and impartial therapeutic space, through which you can explore and address those areas of life currently causing you distress. At TOG Mind we offer counselling to all residents of Tameside and Glossop aged 16 and over. Counselling is a series of 50 minute one to one sessions which take place at the same time each week.