Lancashire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
1:00 AM 28th October 2023

Stress Is One Of The Biggest Impacts On Your Mental Health

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Stress has one of the biggest impacts on mental health across the globe, with an overwhelming majority of British adults (88%) experiencing stress in the last 12 months; in addition to 96% stating this has impacted their work and personal lives (Headspace Workforce Attitudes Report).

Whilst stress can be experienced at all ages and in all stages of life, this year stress levels are highest amongst baby boomers, 96% of whom experience a sense of stress at least once a week.

“We will experience stress throughout our lives for as long as we live but it isn't necessarily good or bad.
This Stress Awareness Day (November 2nd), Headspace aims to encourage the public to take some time to dedicate to themselves, and remove the guilt, shame, and stigma around mental health. We all need to be reminded to focus more on self-acceptance and self-love and take time out to acknowledge when we or others might be struggling from stress.

With stress levels at an all-time high, prevention is key, yet waitlists for NHS mental health services NHS continue to grow. Headspace has launched a complete mental health solution for employers to support their workforces. This includes a full meditation and mindfulness offering via the Headspace app, on demand 24/7 text-based behavioural health coaching and therapy via video, phone or in-person. This stepped-care approach is designed with an emphasis on prevention, providing employees with the ability to increase or decrease the level of support as needs change over time.

Image by Beate from Pixabay
Image by Beate from Pixabay
According to an internal study that was published in the top mindfulness journal, just 10 days of using the Headspace app reduced stress by 14%, for employees and consumers alike. The app is on hand to provide support this Stress Awareness Day with a wealth of resources to guide you on your self-care journey and encourage open discussions when it comes to mental health.

Nicole O’Connor, Care Services Chief of Staff and Licensed Therapist at Headspace speaks to the importance of understanding how to maintain our everyday wellbeing this Stress Awareness Day:
“Prolonged stress can have a detrimental impact on your immune system response, and as a result, this can cause you to suffer from more frequent illnesses. Not only that, but stress also affects every major bodily system, including the nervous system, musculoskeletal system, respiratory system, cardiovascular function, gastrointestinal health, and beyond. Ensuring you have a robust mental health practice in place is not just important for your mental wellbeing, but vitally important to overall health too.

“Our brains respond to stress by determining the appropriate physiological and behavioural reaction. So for example, if stress becomes chronic, responses may become destructive and harmful to both our physical and mental health. An overproduction of adrenaline from being in a consistent ‘fight or flight’ state can cause adrenal fatigue, which can impact energy levels and affect your general mood. It’s not all bad news, in fact these responses can also be beneficial, as a spike in adrenaline increases your heart rate and blood pressure to improve alertness and ultimately prepare you for what’s ahead, be it a presentation at work or something as simple as going on a date.”

To combat severe cases of stress this Stress Awareness Day, Nicole recommends:

Working with a coach or therapist
to help you to challenge your thoughts, feelings and behaviours that aren’t serving you and/or are counterproductive to your wellbeing.

Incorporate mindfulness and meditation practices into your daily routine to foster a deeper sense of self awareness and allow you to shed a light upon existing behaviours and ambitions, creating an opportunity for you to question how healthy they are. A mindfulness practice also equips us with effective coping skills to manage stress and burnout in day-to-day life. In fact, scientific studies prove that just four sessions of Headspace can reduce burnout by 14%.

Eve Lewis Prieto, Director of Teaching & Meditation & Mindfulness Teacher at Headspace adds:
“We will experience stress throughout our lives for as long as we live but it isn't necessarily good or bad. It is our body’s natural response to a perceived threat and it’s a physiological response. The ability for us to experience stress has kept us alive from an evolutionary standpoint, it’s the fight or flight response. Therefore, it can be helpful to understand what happens in the body when we’re stressed; our heart rate increases, our digestion shuts down and our reproduction goes offline.”

Further resources from Headspace on stress relief are also available here:
How to relieve stress
Benefits of meditation on stress