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g Mental Health Site

BellaOnline's Mental Health Editor


Newsletter Archive
For most, stress and anxiety are not seen as mental health issues. It may surprise you that they are. All these are challenges to your mental health and healthy functioning.

Stress is an inability to cope with the over-whelm of your thoughts. When you get caught up in too much thinking, too much to do and not enough time or space in your head to handle all the demands being made on you, it is natural to shut down to avoid letting any more in. An extreme example of stress would be a nervous breakdown.

Taking time out to combat stress and its effects is probably to best thing you can do for yourself. I can hear all your excuses, however; when you think about it, you don’t make time to be stressed, you just are. So why can't you just be relaxed instead? It’s the way you see the situation that matters, rather than the situation itself.

Instead of having to make time to relax, feeling calm and peaceful can become your natural way of being and the times that stress is necessary, it is used to your advantage. When you are in touch with yourself and notice that you are stressed you can take steps to break the tension.

Tips to interrupt stress and anxiety:

* Notice your breath and if its out of balance, take some deep breaths to settle it down.

Take stock of the situation you are in and put it into perspective. More often than not it is not life threatening, and no-one will die if you do not finish the task set.

* Be kind to yourself, take time out to do nice things. Meet friends, have a massage, a bath or cook yourself your favourite meal. Treat yourself well and value yourself.

Anxiety is another challenge many are facing. I bet you can identify with the feeling that wells up in you when you are afraid or anxious. The breathing changes, we can feel dizzy and out of control among other symptoms. This is natural, and part of our survival mechanism. We need that fight or flight reaction in us as it warns us of impending danger. This is great when necessary, however, it has become a natural state of being for many.

When you live with heightened emotions like that all the time, it doesn’t take long for the body to start showing the effects. You can feel tired, irritable, unable to breathe properly, and constantly on a state of high alert. You then face burn out and adrenal fatigue as the body is put under pressure and the immune system is weakened.

Anxiety serves us well when we need it, however, when we live in a constant state of anxiety we risk damaging our health and lessening our life span. Is anything really worth that? When you put your self and your body under such pressure you lose your resilience and the ability to take things as they come is diminished.

In this state it is easy for you to defend yourself against life, and to withdraw. You may find that you stop doing things incase ‘bad things’ happen or the fear of engaging in life fully can lead you into depression; which can ultimately be debilitating.

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