Stress, anxiety and depression
We often use the word Stress to describe how we feel when the demands of daily life seem to be becoming too much for us to cope with. People’s ability to cope varies, and a situation that one person might find stressful another may not.
Some stress can be considered good for us, as it keeps us alert and enthusiastic. But long term stress is known to be bad for our health. As well as affecting our mental health, it can contribute to poor physical health and can make some conditions worse.
If you think that stress is becoming a problem for you, there are things that you can do to try and reduce it.
- Be realistic about what you can achieve. Set priorities and limits on what you expect of yourself
- Try to make time to relax – doing relaxation exercises can be really helpful for some people
- Try and think through situations in a positive and logical manner, and take a step-by-step approach to them
- Plan your time. Do one thing at a time and take regular breaks
- Adopt our 5-a-day approach for good mental health
Anxiety is the feeling we get when our body prepares to respond to a potentially frightening or threatening situation (“fight or flight”). It is a natural response and everyone experiences episodes of anxiety from time to time. But for some people, this anxiety can become overwhelming and can result in poor sleep, loss of appetite and an inability to concentrate.
Anxiety can affect us in different ways, it can affect:
- The way we feel
- The way we think
- The way our body works
- The way we act
There are things you can do to manage anxiety:
- Learn to understand your anxiety. Try and work out what it is that makes you anxious and how it makes you feel.
- Learn to relax. You can prevent anxiety becoming too bad by using relaxation techniques. Exercise helps some people relax, for others it may be reading or listening to music.
We all feel sad, fed up or miserable sometimes. Usually these feelings don’t last very long and don’t get in the way of the things we want to do. We can often deal with them ourselves, perhaps by talking to a friend, but frequently we manage without any additional help.
Sometimes, though, these feelings can be much greater and go on for longer. Depression is when these feelings don’t go away quickly, or they start to interfere with everyday life.