Stress Awareness

We all feel stressed from time to time, it is a normal human response but too much stress can cause negative effects.  Long term, this can affect our emotional, physical and mental health and impact on our wellbeing, personal and professional life.

Stress is the feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure.  When stressed, the body thinks it is under attack and switches to ‘fight or flight’ mode, releasing a mix of hormones and chemicals such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine to prepare the body for physical action and causing a number of reactions.  It is important to remember, that a certain amount of stress can be healthy and not always a bad thing.  Stress keeps us out of danger and is good at motivating us but stress becomes an issue when we feel overwhelmed for a long period of time and it impacts on our health.

What causes stress?

Everyone has different stress triggers and we all react differently.  Something which is stressful to one person may not be for another.  Usually stress is triggered because of what is happening in our life, this can be:

  • Major life changes
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Parenting
  • Work
  • Times of uncertainty
  • Responsibilities which are overwhelming
  • Worry
  • Feeling under pressure
  • Financial difficulties

There is no denying that since the pandemic began our stress levels have increased due to how it has impacted our lives.  The pandemic has caused many of us to face difficult challenges whether this being in our personal or work life due to the threat of the virus and being faced with uncertainty.  According to the Mental Health Foundation 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.  The three key causes for concern are feelings of disconnection, uncertainty, and a worrying loss of control.

Some signs of stressPhysical, Emotional and Behavioural

  • Low energy
  • Muscle tension/palpitations
  • Headaches/stomach problems
  • Irritability/anger/mood swings
  • Sadness or Depression
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Problems with concentration or memory
  • Trouble sleeping/sleeping to much
  • Overeating/undereating
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Increased use of substances

10 Short Term Ways to Relieve Stress

  1. Meditation is a short term stress relief which affects the body in the opposite way stress does by triggering the body to relax and restore the body to a calm state.
  2. Walking boosts stress boosting endorphins and the opportunity to change your scenery by spending some time in nature.
  3. Taking a break to listen to some relaxing music can have a positive effect on the brain and body by quieting your mind and relaxing your muscles.
  4. Focusing on your breath or changing the way you breathe sends a message to the brain to calm down and relax.
  5. Light exercise is a great way to improve your mood, it can relieve mental stress.
  6. Yoga promotes relaxation by using exercise to learn to control the breath, clear the mind and relax the body.
  7. Having some “me time.” Take time out to relax and do something you love.
  8. Getting back in touch with your creative side helps engage and focus the mind on what you are doing and distracts us from the stress we may feel.
  9. Acknowledge the stress. This can help to take the weight off your shoulders by looking at another way to respond to it.
  10. Connect with people. The right social support of someone who will listen to you is a natural way to calm and relieve stress.

I hope some of these practical short term stress relief practices you find useful.  If you are finding your stress levels are impacting on your personal or work life, please get in contact.  Counselling can help to explore and understand what is causing the stress, how you currently manage your stress levels and by working together we can find strategies that can help when feeling stressed.

Please contact me if you would like to book a free 20-minute introduction phone call to support you at this time at, 07743 755787 or via my website at

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

Published by Emma Marshall

Person Centred Counsellor

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