Sometimes clients come to me saying that they know they’re really stressed out.

But quite often, clients will say to me that they don’t think they’re stressed. Once we dig deeper, though, they realise that they are actually stressed. They begin to recognise that some of the physical symptoms they are experiencing are in fact stress manifesting itself.

It’s what happened to me. I was confident and together. I was busy, but I would never have said I was stressed. Except my body was telling me a different story. I started experiencing ill-health. I was in “stress denial”. I also began noticing that many people around me were suffering stress-related symptoms without realising that stress was the cause.

Common stress-related physical symptoms include lacking in energy, problems sleeping, loss of appetite/increase in appetite and a weakened immune system. Our tempers become short, we may struggle to get out of bed in the morning, and we become more emotional or irritable. We often turn to alcohol or drugs to help us relax, or we eat junk food for comfort.

Yet stress itself isn’t a bad thing. It’s a natural response in the human body to an external trigger. It’s our “flight or fight” mechanism – our automatic reaction to a particular situation. The body floods with the hormones in order to heighten our senses. After the initial response, and after the danger has passed, our bodies are meant to go back to their normal, i.e. a calm, state.

The problem is that, these days, many of us remain in a stressed state for hours, days or even weeks at a time. And that is a bad thing.

Modern-day triggers can include job worries, money worries, health and relationship worries, family issues; the list goes on.

It’s really important to recognise when we get too stressed because it can cause us to become very negative. Negativity becomes a real barrier to achieving our goals and dreams.

We may then lose sight of the fact that a situation or problem can be improved, causing ongoing worry, fear and – you guessed it – further stress.

What can we do about it?

There are two very simple things that can start us on a journey to a less stressed life.

1. Breathe.
Breathing deeply slows the heart rate, which allows us to become more relaxed. The more relaxed we are, the better we are able to diminish the effects of stress. Stopping what we’re doing three to four times a day and taking a few minutes to breathe deeply can be a great start to helping us manage stress.

2. Drink water.
When we keep ourselves well hydrated we can concentrate better and we don’t feel quite so tired. Behind the scenes the water is also flushing out toxins from our bodies and transporting nutrients and oxygen to our cells, keeping us healthy, and thus better able to deal with stress.

Want to find out more?

In our next blog post I’ll be discussing my top ten stress-busting tips. Sign up here to receive our blog by email.