Tips and Advice for Managing Stress

Stress and its causes

Stress is the term used to describe how we feel when we are faced with difficult, unforeseen or dangerous circumstances. The causes of stress vary significantly and are dependent on each individual and their economic and personal circumstances. Whatever the situation, if it causes stress our bodies will enter a ‘fight-or-flight’ response mode. When this occurs too frequently, our mental health and well-being often begin to decline. This is one of the reasons why managing stress is so important.

When we encounter stressful situations, our minds stimulate our bodies to release certain hormones that trigger the ‘fight-or-flight’ response. This is our species’ physiological and psychological response to stress that can be traced back thousands of years. However, although this acute stress response was helpful to us thousands of years ago when we were running to escape from being mauled by sabre tooth tigers – or from being crushed by a herd of woolly mammoths! – it is proven to cause us more harm than good in the 21st century. We rarely come across life-threatening situations in the modern world but we do come across an increasing number of other situations that cause us a significant amount of stress. For example, trying to meet a tight work or university deadline, starting a new job, financial struggles, or stressing about having the in-laws over for dinner.

No matter the cause, when our mental health declines, all aspects of our lives can be affected. It can interfere with our ability to cope with certain situations, our job can be negatively impacted, and strain can be put on our families and relationships.

“we’ve actually evolved to be smart enough to make ourselves sick” 

Robert Sapolsky, a Stanford University neuroscientist, states that as a species, we’ve actually “evolved to be smart enough to make ourselves sick”. Our bodies and minds have not yet evolved quick enough to cope with the ever-changing and increasing demands we are exposed to within the 21st century.

Tips for managing stress

There’s an abundance of guides out there offering useful tips and advice on managing stress. In light of this, we have put together a list of some of the most effective ways to help you manage your stress levels:

  1. Mindfulness
  2. Sleep
  3. Healthy Eating
  4. Yoga
  5. Managing your time (routine)
  6. Taking time out


Mindfulness is a meditative tool that can significantly help improve a person’s mental well-being. Practising mindfulness enables us to pay more attention to the present moment. This allows us to enjoy life more, and understand ourselves and the world around us better.

If you are interested in getting started with mindfulness then a personal recommendation would be to read Michael Chaskalson’s book on mindfulness, ‘Mindfulness in Eight Weeks’. Alternatively, if you are not a fan of reading, you can practice some of his recommended meditations by listening to them on SoundCloud.

For further information on mindfulness and mindfulness techniques, the NHS provides a variety of information on the topic.


Difficulty sleeping is one of the most common conditions that accompanies stress. A lack of sleep can worsen our ability to deal with stress if experienced consistently over long periods.

There are various techniques that can help improve a sleep routine. We can program our brains and internal body clock to get used to a set routine by sticking to regular sleeping patterns that works for us and setting ourselves regular sleeping hours that we can stick to.

Alternatively, it’s the act of falling asleep that many people struggle with. Cutting down on the amount of caffeine we consume is one of the first steps we should take. In addition, avoiding screen time for at least one hour before climbing into bed can also help. The NHS also advises to write down a to-do-list for the following day before bed. They claim that in doing this, it can help us to switch off and prioritise. This can allow us to put our plans aside before bed.

You can visit the NHS website for further tips and techniques on how to improve your sleeping routine.

Healthy Eating

The Mental Health Foundation has noted a growing amount of research that outlines the significant affect food can have on our mood. A healthy diet can have a positive impact on our overall feeling of well-being. Providing our bodies with sufficient amounts of nutrients can help achieve this. This includes vitamins, minerals and drinking plenty of water. If you struggle in getting enough vitamins and minerals into your diet, then nutrition supplements can help. Our Partner, Advanced Nutrition ProgrammeTM provide a variety of different supplements that can help with this.


Like mindfulness, yoga is a meditative tool that can significantly help in managing stress and improve our mental well-being. Yoga is beneficial for both our minds and our bodies. Many individuals have made it part of their exercise or gym routine.

If you’re not yet ready to attend a yoga class at your local gym, you can purchase a yoga mat online, then watch the many yoga tutorial videos for beginners that are available on YouTube. These videos are a great way to practice yoga in your spare time and your own space – and are much cheaper than attending a gym class!

Managing your time 

Many of us can get significantly stressed with the demands of everyday life because it often feels like there isn’t enough time to cram everything in! Effective time management can help to regain control of our days and significantly reduce our levels of stress. Whether it be in our professional or personal lives that we are struggling with, effective time management can help us feel more relaxed, focused and in control.

Taking time out

Taking time out is one of the most important factors when working on reducing and managing stress. This does include factoring in breaks, holidays or relaxing days but these are not always affordable or realistic. Other equally important ways are to ensure we continue to make time for friends and family, hobbies and interests. Spending time with friends and taking part in activities and events helps us to relax and often causes us to laugh – an excellent stress reliever! Taking adequate time out away from the stresses that are impacting us and sharing our concerns with those closest to us, can help to tackle the situations and tasks that are causing us to stress and reassures us that we don’t have to manage them alone.

The most important thing when dealing with stress is to learn what works best for you

Bottling up stress and keeping worries to yourself can worsen your mental health. This can result in stress manifesting into conditions that are much harder to manage. The most important thing when dealing with stress is to learn what works best for you. There are a variety of techniques and tips out there to choose from and experiment with. However, you can never go far wrong with starting with sharing your concerns with the people closest to you.

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