Family problems and interpersonal relationships, excessive working hours and intense mental/physical workload are considered as factors that may require attention beyond one’s control, resulting to sleep problems and extended wakefulness that consequently can lead to fatigue. Overall, stress affects us in different ways and especially, when it is noticed over a prolonged period of time, it has many negative effects to our feelings, thoughts and reactions.

We all feel stressed at times; even though we cannot completely eliminate all stressors, there are many ways to cope with and reduce our stress levels in order to feel happier and healthier.

The F3 (Fight-Flight-Freeze) response: How our body reacts to stress

Our body is designed to protect us from threat or danger. For example when we hear the words ‘Look Out’, our body reacts as follows:

Source: SHIP –Managing stress and sleeping well at sea

S.E.L.F. : 4 steps to cope with stress

adapted from Kathleen Hall, founder of The Stress Institute and Mindful Living Network

SERENITY: clear your mind, create self-serenity

  • Inhale to the count of 1-2-3-4 and exhale to 1-2-3-4
  • Download an app with relaxing sounds
  • Practice yoga/meditation

EXERCISE: the calming effects of physical fitness are endless

  • Go for a walk in nature
  • Do some stretching exercises
  • Opt for the stairs rather than the elevator

LOVE: Connecting with other people means less time spent inside your head

  • spend time with family/ friends
  • take in another person’s perspective on a situation
  • express gratitude

FOOD: Nutrition has a major impact on mood

  • Consume less sugar, salt, and alcohol
  • Consume foods rich in vitamin B6 (i.e. bananas, nuts, tuna)
  • Opt for less processed food and more healthy choices

Harmful stress and anxiety-inducing patterns of behavior

  • “I can’t stop, I have so much to do."
  • “I can’t handle this, I’m not capable."
  • “What if this happens?"
  • ‘‘What am I going to do”
  • “Why didn’t this happen the way I wanted!!"