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Stress Awareness

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Charlotte Liedes

1 Apr 2022

Today marks the start of Stress Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness of the causes of stress, and how to overcome them.

Stress is primarily a physical response. When stressed, the body thinks it is under attack and switches to ‘fight or flight’ mode, releasing a complex mix of hormones and chemicals such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine to prepare the body for physical action.

Through the release of hormones, the early human gained a rush of energy, which prepared him to either fight the tiger or run away. That heart pounding, fast breathing sensation is the adrenaline; as well as a boost of energy, it enables us to focus our attention so we can quickly respond to the situation.

In the modern world, the ‘fight or flight’ mode can still help us survive dangerous situations, such as reacting swiftly to a person running in front of our car by slamming on the brakes.

The challenge is when our body goes into a state of stress in inappropriate situations. When blood flow is going only to the most important muscles needed to fight or flee, brain function is minimised. This can lead to an inability to ‘think straight’; a state that is a great hindrance in both our work and home lives. If we are kept in a state of stress for long periods, it can be detrimental to our health.

However, not many people are aware that stress is one of the great public health challenges of our time and can create a whole chain of events affecting our personal health.

Individually we need to understand what is causing us personal stress and learn what steps we can take to reduce it for ourselves and those around us.

The Stress Management Society has compiled a 30-day Challenge which we can take part in to learn new habits to deal and mitigate stress caused, no matter if its work or personal life induced. We wish you the best of luck!

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