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2.3 How to manage stress

The charity Mind has published a booklet, How to Manage Stress (2015). It contains a lot of useful information about living with stress and how to manage it.

Stress isn’t a medical diagnosis so there’s no specific treatment for it, but if you are finding it hard to cope with things in your life and are experiencing stress, there are treatments available that could help. To access most of these, the first step is usually to talk to your doctor.

Sometimes it may help to speak to a trained professional. Talking therapies, such as counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), can help you learn to deal with stress and become more aware of your own thoughts and feelings and why you behave in certain ways. Practising ‘mindfulness’ (which we talked about earlier) can help you deal with stress by focusing yourself in the present moment and not worrying about things you can’t do anything about.

Some people find that spending time outdoors in nature can help to reduce stress. This might include outdoor physical exercise such as running or walking, even tai chi, or gardening and conservation projects, alone or as part of a group.

There is no specific medication for stress because feelings of stress are a reaction to things happening in your life. There are medications that can help to reduce or manage the signs of stress though, and your doctor may prescribe antidepressants, sleeping pills, minor tranquillisers or medication to treat physical symptoms of stress such as high blood pressure. Or you might prefer to try alternative therapies such as acupuncture or aromatherapy. These are not normally available from your GP.