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How to understand and cope with stress

The stress response is a survival strategy to keep us safe. Humans have evolved this as a vital response to avoid being eaten by predators. When our brains sensed danger, it would shut down unnecessary functions and flood our blood with glucose, giving us a power surge to make our muscles respond in one of two ways: fight or flight. Today, we are less likely to be at risk of being eaten, but our response to situations where we are under pressure beyond our control is still the same. Many of us feel this response repeatedly every day, so instead of escaping the bear and finding safety, it’s like being chased by the bear every day with no let-up.

If you are trying to cope with stressful situations every day, this constant state of fight or flight can harm your mental and physical health. These feelings of abnormal pressure can be brought on by things like bereavement, an increased workload, family arguments, other traumatic events, or even financial worries.

Over the last few years, stress has been something that most of us have become familiar with. The challenges of the pandemic, closely followed by the increasing cost-of-living crisis, have put huge pressure on most of us. The burden of struggling to meet everyday costs like heating, groceries, and transport is also chipping away at our mental health.

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