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Looking after your mental health

It’s okay not to be okay: Your guide to health and happiness. Learn to meditate and live mindfully.

What is stress?

Stress is our body’s natural response to danger, whether it’s a real or imagined threat. When we’re under too much mental or emotional pressure, we can feel stressed. However, everyone has different stress levels, which are shaped by our individual experiences, personality, and coping mechanisms. Prolonged exposure to stress can lead to anxiety or depression, particularly if we experience significant life events that trigger our stress response. Some external stress triggers include:

  • The loss of a loved one
  • Divorce
  • Job loss
  • Financial pressures
  • Moving to a new home
  • Serious illness or injury
  • Traumatic events

Good stress vs bad stress

Stress can be divided into two categories: good stress and bad stress. Good stress motivates us and brings out our best qualities. Bad stress, on the other hand, causes anxiety and related health problems. How can you differentiate between the two types of stress?

Good stress – Take a moment to think back to a time when stress was beneficial in your life. For example, the first time you gave a presentation at work. The stress you experienced may have helped you prepare, practice, and perform better.

Bad stress – Stress becomes problematic when it exceeds the severity of our problems or fears. When we feel overwhelmed and find ourselves constantly overthinking things, it may be a sign that we’re struggling with our mental health and may be entering into the territory of anxiety and depression.

Signs of bad stress and what to do when you recognise them:

It’s important to be aware of the signs of bad stress in ourselves and others, so we can take action to mitigate its effects. Signs of bad stress can include:

  • Feeling anxious or overwhelmed
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns
  • Irritability or mood swings
  • Physical symptoms, such as headaches, muscle tension, or stomach problems
  • Increased use of drugs or alcohol

If you recognise these signs in yourself, it’s essential to take steps to manage your stress levels. This may involve practising mindfulness, getting regular exercise, seeking support from loved ones, or talking to a mental health professional.

If you notice signs of bad stress in someone else, it’s essential to approach them with compassion and support. Encourage them to seek help from a mental health professional, and offer to help them find resources if necessary. It’s also essential to create a supportive environment in which employees feel comfortable discussing mental health concerns and seeking help when they need it.

Remember, managing stress is essential for maintaining good mental health. By recognising the signs of bad stress and taking steps to manage it, we can lead happier and healthier lives.