The NHS advises that we should watch out for ‘The Three ‘A’s’ when aiming to reduce stress in our lives.
Number one is Avoidance.
It can sometimes feel easier to avoid situations we deem stressful instead of facing them. This can include not opening letters, not answering the phone, not seeing friends or not going out.
Unfortunately, this will not help reduce stress in the long term. Most problems simply won’t go away by ignoring them.
Try to face anything you are avoiding, such as debt, work-based problems, or relationship issues.
Make a plan to deal with them in turn, taking one step at a time. If you need help from a friend or family member, don’t feel that you can’t ask. They’ll only be too happy to help you.
The same applies if you need guidance from Citizens Advice.
The second is Alcohol.
Some beer or a glass of wine is a common way to wind down at the end of a stressful day. However, drinking too much will only make stress worse and leave us less able to handle it the next day.
The third is Activity.
When we are feeling stressed, we can sometimes end up cutting down on the activities that actually make us feel good and naturally feel good.
If stress and fear are getting in the way of you doing the things you value and enjoy, make a plan to change this. It will improve your mood and reduce stress.
On the other hand, stress can also cause us to do too much.
If you find you are doing more but achieving less, saying yes to things when you feel you should say no, or constantly on the move, take a step back and reduce the amount you do.
When we’re aware of what we’re doing to cause or exacerbate stress, then we can act to prevent it!
To learn more about how to break bad habits and behaviours, we recommend our Coping with Stress eLearning course.