Stress and how it affects us
Stress can affect all of us at some point in our lives; stress is defined as the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure and the pressure then turning into stress, which is when you feel unable to cope. A small amount of stress is normal, however too much stress can begin to take its toll.
Stress can affect how you feel, think, behave and even how your body works. Common signs of stress include sleeping problems, sweating, loss of appetite and difficulty concentrating. Some people may feel anxious and irritable or have low self esteem.
Stress causes a surge of hormones in your body; these stress hormones are released to enable you to deal with pressures or threats – the ‘fight or flight’ response. When the pressure passes, your stress hormone levels return to normal, however if you are constantly under stress, the hormones will not leave your body and the stress symptoms will continue.
A major cause of stress is financial pressure particularly problem debt. This is a situation many millions where the monthly debt repayments are too high and eat into the money they need to live on.
Dealing with stress
Although stress is not classed as an illness, it can cause serious illness if it isn’t dealt with. It is important to understand and recognise signs of stress as early as possible so you have the opportunity to figure out ways to cope with the stress – ideally but not adopting unhealthy methods such as drinking or smoking.
There is not a lot you can do to prevent stress, however there are things you can do to manage stress, for example, taking regular exercise and learning how to relax.
Exercise will naturally increase your overall health and well being but it will also help you to de-stress. Doing any kind of exercise helps increase the production of endorphins. These are a group of hormones in your brain that make you feel more focused and put you in a better mood – also known as the ‘feel good’ hormone!
After exercise, you will find that the stresses you had before your work out are not so prominent as you were concentrating on your exercise rather than your stress. Regularly exercising will continue to help shed your tensions and stress and you will find you feel much calmer and things become much clearer.
Exercise is also known to improve sleep which is usually disrupted by stress or anxiety. Getting the right amount of sleep each night is important to help with stressful periods in life.
Relaxing is also a great stress buster. Unfortunately just laying back on the sofa with the TV on is not going to reduce the effects of stress. To effectively relieve stress, practising relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation and yoga are all proven to help. Again all of these activities will improve your mood and well being.
Here are some tips to help you relax:
- Focus on your breathing
- Focus on the present rather than something in the past
- Listen to music that makes you feel calm or happy
- Picture your ‘happy place’ or a place that makes you feel relaxed
When you begin to relax you will notice that your heart rate will slow down and your muscles will start to relax, this in turn will reduce your blood pressure and your body and mind will move away from the stressful feeling and bring your body and mind back to a state of equilibrium.
If you find you are suffering from the stress of problem debt, or you just need some help with budgeting, get in touch. Problem debt is debts where the monthly repayments are eating into the money you need to live on. There a range of solutions to help you deal with such debt and could include an IVA which can allow you to *write off debt which you cannot repay.
The Debt Advisor are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. This means we can advise on all potential options to deal with debt which could include:-
- Consolidating debt into a loan or remortgage
- Individual Voluntary Arrangement
- Debt Relief Order
- Dealing with debt yourself
- Getting help from charities or the free sector
We will review your circumstances and offer advice on all options that might suit your needs. We will also explain how the fees are paid out of your contributions.
All debt solutions need to be carefully considered. IVA’s are formal solutions and failure to keep to the terms can result in your IVA failing and you could end up bankrupt.
There is also free debt help and advice available through a variety of debt charities. For more information, we recommend you visit www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk.
The Debt Advisor is Authorised and regulated by The Financial Conduct Authority (reg no: 606669).
*You would only write off debts if your IVA was successfully completed.