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What is Stress

Stress is the body's reaction to feeling threatened or under pressure. It's very common and can be motivating to help us achieve things in our daily life, and can help us meet the demands of home, work and family life.

But too much stress can affect our mood, our body and our relationships – especially when it feels out of our control. It can make us feel anxious and irritable, and affect our self-esteem.

The tips on this page should help, but if you have been experiencing stress for some time and it's affecting your daily life or causing you distress, you should consider seeking further support.


Talking treatments

Talking with a trained professional can help you learn to deal with stress and become more aware of your own thoughts and feelings. Common types of talking treatments which can help with stress are:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which helps you understand your thought patterns, recognise your trigger points and identify positive actions you can take.

  • Mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR), which combines mindfulness, meditation and yoga with a particular focus on reducing stress.


Feelings of stress are a reaction to things happening in your life, not a mental health problem, so there's no specific medication for stress. However, there are various medications available which can help to reduce or manage some of the signs of stress.

For example, your doctor might offer to prescribe:


Ecotherapy is a way of improving your wellbeing and self-esteem by spending time in nature. This can include physical exercise in green spaces or taking part in a gardening or conservation project.

(You can find out more about ecotherapy, including details of local programmes, in our pages on ecotherapy.)

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Things to do


Do not do; 

  • do not try to do everything at once – set small targets you can easily achieve

  • do not focus on the things you cannot change – focus your time and energy into helping yourself feel better

  • try not to tell yourself that you're alone – most people feel stressed at some point in their life and support is available

  • try not to use alcohol, cigarettes, gambling or drugs to relieve stress – these can all contribute to poor mental health

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Signs & Symptoms 
  • feel overwhelmed

  • have racing thoughts or difficulty concentrating

  • be irritable

  • feel constantly worried, anxious or scared

  • feel a lack of self-confidence

  • have trouble sleeping or feel tired all the time

  • avoid things or people you are having problems with

  • be eating more or less than usual

  • drink or smoke more than usual

Self - Help 

Split up big tasks

  • If a task seems overwhelming and difficult to start, try breaking it down into easier chunks, and give yourself credit for completing them.

  • Allow yourself some positivity

  • Take time to think about the good things in your life. Each day, consider what went well and try to list 3 things you're thankful for.

Challenge unhelpful thoughts

  • The way we think affects the way we feel. Watch our video to learn how to challenge unhelpful thoughts.

  • Reframing unhelpful thoughts video

Be more active

  • Being active can help you to burn off nervous energy. It will not make your stress disappear, but it can make it less intense.

Home workout videos

  • Talk to someone

  • Trusted friends, family and colleagues, or contacting a helpline, can help us when we are struggling. Watch our video for more ideas.

  • Social connection video

Plan ahead

  • Planning out any upcoming stressful days or events – a to-do list, the journey you need to do, things you need to take – can really help.

Emergency Action plan:

1. Sip on Some Water

When you really get worked up, try sipping on a glass of water. Don’t chug the water- that’s beside the point. Slowly sip and sip and sip your stress away. Not only are you calming yourself down, but you are also hydrating and flushing your body out. This is really a helpful tip if you struggle with emotional eating.

2. Smile and Laugh

I literally mean just this. You don’t need a funny movie or even a joke Take a moment in private and quietly laugh or smile to yourself for at least five minutes. Studies have shown that the act of smiling, even for nothing, actually tricks your brain into releasing happy hormones.

3. Go for a Walk

Recognize that you aren’t being productive? See that you are stressed out? Go for a walk to cool off and get out of your head space. Feel your feet on the ground, listen to the sounds around you, and enjoy the fresh air on your face. When you get back to your activities, I guarantee good things.

4. The Deep Breath

Have to stay put but way too stressed out? Take 10 deep, long full breaths- count them. Taking these mindful breaths will immediately slow you down and help get you in touch with your body. This is an excellent first aid tip for a meeting situation since you can do it without anyone noticing.

5. Talk to a friend

If it is really a hard time, there is nothing wrong with responsibly seeking social support. It has been shown that regular individual levels of stress and healthy social support are inversely correlated. That means that those dear people in our lives actually help reduce our level of stress on average.

I hope you try out these quick tips for stress management. Let me know how stress is showing you in your life for you by writing on the community page or in the comment box below. Further, if you like these tips and are looking for more ways to bring mindfulness into your life, check out this seminar “Just listen your body is speaking to you”.

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