Top tips for combatting stress

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Health Assured team

09 March 2023

Stress levels in the UK are rising, with more people experiencing this pressure-induced state than ever before.

It could be receiving bad news, a bad traffic jam or a hectic work day; many triggers cause stress, and these triggers are different for everyone.

What we know from the statistics is that stress is becoming a more prominent part of people’s lives, and in the process, it’s affecting their health, meaning healthcare costs are also surging.

And while small amounts of stress can help us to rise to challenges and exert our strengths, long-term stress can lead to serious problems like burnout.

In this article, we’ll be looking at stress statistics in a little more detail to understand how prevalent stress is, what the impacts are and what causes it.

How prevalent is stress?

In the last year, 74% of people have felt so stressed they have been unable to cope. (MHF)

One in five people in the UK feels stressed more days a month than they don’t. (CIPHR)

79% of people are often stressed at work. (Breathe HR)

What are the impacts of stress?

Stress-related healthcare costs in the UK amount to £8.3 billion. (Statista)

51% of adults who felt stressed reported feeling depressed and 61% reported feeling anxious. (MHF)

54% of people who are stressed worry about the impact it is having on their health. (Forth)

What causes stress?

The biggest cause of stress at work is workload (Breathe HR)

Money, work, and health concerns are the most common causes of stress. (Forth).

The power of recognising stress

Most people will be familiar with the tight chest, fast-flooding thoughts and low mood that arise as a result of stress. How each person experiences stress will be unique to them. But generally, there are some common signs and symptoms, which we look at in more detail below.

Physical signs: difficulty breathing, sleeping problems, fatigue, chest pains, weight changes.

Behavioural signs: changes like withdrawing from others, being unable to switch off, and not enjoying things you usually do.

Emotions you might be feeling: overwhelmed, depressed, irritable, angry, worried, tense, uninterested in life or lonely.

Recognising stress when it arises is essential to overcoming it. If you notice any of the signs above, stop and ask yourself: am I feeling stressed right now?

Once you've answered this question, you can take some deep breaths and try one of our unique ways to let go of stress.

Reducing the stress in your life

There’s no one quick fix for stress. As humans, we’re all going to experience this at some point. But you can reduce the impact stress has in your life by recognising it when it arises and by trying these stress-reducing tips. 

Get moving

Exercise in any form is one of the best stress busters you can find. And the best thing? It costs nothing. It could be a walk to the park, a dance around the kitchen or a 10-minute stretch.

Laughter is the best medicine 

Laughing it off should never be underestimated. Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, call the friend that always makes you laugh, put on your favourite feel-good film, or even go to a comedy night. These little spurts of laughter can go a long way.

Put sleep first 

Sleep is good for the soul. It’s the body’s way of restoring, rebalancing and recharging itself. After a good night’s sleep, you’ll be more equipped to take on the tasks and scenarios that make up your day-to-day.

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