Stress is an odd thing. What twists one person’s melon is a honeydew of happiness for another.
Take Saturday night for example. My wife and I had friends around for dinner. I was super-stressed about getting it just right. I like these people, I wanted to impress them, so I started the prep and cooking process early that morning to make sure I got it right.
When they finally put fork to mouth, my heart was racing: Would they like it? Would they grimace? Would they throw up all over the carpet I’d just vacuumed before their arrival?
All stupid silly stuff to most people – but important to me.
Then at half-past midnight, we heard clattering on the scaffolding erected on our next door neighbour’s house. It sounded like a burglar. When I looked out of the window, he LOOKED like a burglar.
What did I do? Panic? Get stressed out? Flap around looking for a knife? Call the police?
None of the above. I merely opened the window and said in a very calm voice: ‘What are you doing on the scaffolding?’
And then he staggered, and nearly fell off. It was one of the builders – drunk! – who was using the place as a doss house but had forgotten his keys.
Stuff like that doesn’t stress me out. Even when I was made redundant two years ago, I didn’t get stressed. In fact, the opposite: I got married the following month. That didn’t stress me out, either.
People stirring their tea too often; people slurping their soup too loudly; people jumping the queue at the bar; people letting doors slam in your face; my kids treating their bedrooms like council dumps – these are the things that get the stress steam coming out of my ears.
So how is it for you? What grinds your gears, jerks your chain, gets you out of your pram, sends your stress levels stratospheric?
Stress is a commonly used word these days – and with half a million people in the UK believing work-related stress is affecting their health, it’s no surprise that many of us are so aware of stress in our day to day lives.
Experts say that left unaddressed, stress and anxiety can negatively affect our mental and physical health.
Well, as always, here in Housedad Towers’ Sponsored Post Zone…I’m here to help. Or at least, I know someone who can. Dr Mark Winwood clinical director for psychological health for AXA PPP healthcare’s specialist Health Services division is going to provide live support for anyone which questions on stress from 1pm – 3.30pm on Thursday June 28.
And if you can’t make the live chat, there’s no need to miss out, just leave your question in the comments below, or get in touch through Facebook or Twitter, and AXA PPP will get back to you with a response from Dr Winwood a few days after its online clinic ends.
In the meantime, here are a few interesting facts and some sure-fire advice to help you feel a little more relaxed…
• 40 million adults admit to suffering from stress and anxiety on a regular basis.
• Only a fortunate 17 per cent of Britons say they’re free of any kind of worry.
• Most people admit to being troubled with one or two worries but a third of adults are burdened by three or more concerns causing them stress.
• According to coach and personal development expert Antoinette Dale Henderson, top five stress-causers are: money, family and relationships, health, stress at work and job security or employment.
• Stress can affect you physically, emotionally and behaviourally, resulting in symptoms and feelings such as exhaustion, headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia, irritability, anxiety, fear and depression.
• It becomes difficult to function normally and your ability to work, juggle family life and think straight can be affected.
So what can you do about it? Here’s Antoinette’s advice…
1) Identify the root source of your worries and stress
Sometimes it’s not always obvious to identify the root cause of your worries or there could be more than one area in life triggering stress.
“Keeping a stress diary can be a useful way of identifying the triggers,” suggests Antoinette.
“Once you’re clear on the area/s of your life that are causing you the most stress, you can begin to take steps to address them.”
2) Devise ways to change
Start thinking about the things you can do that will make a positive difference.
For example, devising a budget and organising your finances more efficiently could help ease some of your cash-flow worries. Looking for a new job or cutting back on working hours could help you begin to move away from a stressful working environment.
And don’t feel you’ve got to do this on your own – advice and suggestions from others can be beneficial. “You may like to talk these through with a friend or work them through with a qualified coach,” says Antoinette.
3) Think positively
There may be areas in your life that feel completely beyond your control.
“Although you may not be able to change everything in your life that brings you stress, what you can change is the way you think about them,” advises Antoinette.
“For example, rather than thinking negatively about your problems or worries, try and view them in a more positive light.
“Instead of thinking ‘my finances are terrible and I’ll never be able to afford to move’, change the negative language into positive words, such as ‘I’m learning to manage my finances and save towards the future’.”
And if all that doesn’t make you feel a tad more relaxed, don’t forget to log on to AXA PPP healthcare’s online stress clinic with Dr Window, between 1pm and 3.30pm on Thursday June 28.
• Don’t stress out – this is a sponsored post.