as a stress. Natural hunger is our body telling us it needs nutrition and prompts us to eat which is kind of useful in terms of survival.
But generally when we think about stress we think about the negative aspects. We're usually referring to excess stress - the kind that eventually leads us to feel exhausted, irritable, miserable etc.....
Symptoms of excess stress can include:
Stress can also lead to more severe and chronic health problems; causing inflammation in the body and lead to conditions affecting auto-immunity, blood pressure, heart disease, bowel issues such as IBS, cancer, stroke, heart attack, depression and anxiety. (Check your mood HERE)
For a rough guide as to whether you are under excess stress you may like to try this quiz from Popular Science. Note that it's not a diagnostic tool and if you feel you are struggling then looking at ways to try to reduce your stress levels or different ways to cope with life's challenges is going to be a good idea. Ideally we're looking for a balance in our lifestyle but it's not always easy as life can be busy and can catch up on us; although it can throw us fast balls, stress often is accumulative and we can suddenly find that the things we normally cope well with are now overwhelming us!
GP and with a therapist to get some support and look at managing stress better.
TOP TIPS FOR REDUCING STRESS
Watch the blog for more information on some of these tips..... why and how they can help....
Your dog can give you….
Motivation – when you need a reason to get out of bed, its licking you in the face! Even if you don’t feel like facing the day, eating or going out anywhere, a dog needs you to help it achieve those things. Exercise is very good for improving mood and relieving stress and having a four-legged friend to do it with makes it more achievable
Confidence to Connect – anxiety and depression can leave you feeling isolated and not wanting to go out. A dog gives you a reason to get out of the house and ‘someone’ to do it with. Fellow dog walkers will often say hello. That brief human interaction is valuable – be deliberate in saying “Good morning” to another dog walker, you don’t have to have a full-blown discussion! Its enough to just connect in a small way but it also an opportunity to engage further if you want to e.g. enrolling in training classes for instance would allow you to meet with like-minded people. All of us benefit from saying “Hello” or even just giving and receiving a smile.
Purpose, Value and Worth – We all need a little routine and a sense of purpose. A dog can give you that. And they reward you as your relationship grows – they want your company and attention. Each small success in training your dog can give you a great sense of achievement everyday….. my two make me very proud every mealtime when they wait patiently for the command “eat”!! :-D
Comfort and Company – when you’re sad or lonely they can be great company and often can tell when you are upset. Stroking a dog is very soothing and is in fact known to reduce heart rate. You can even talk to them and they won’t answer you back or judge you negatively no matter what you have to say! (providing of course you’re not shouting at them!)
…..Owning a pet is a commitment and responsibility that should be taken seriously and sensibly. I would always advise you do your research and consider whether you can provide for its needs for the duration of its life before getting any pet (and of course I would always advocate for looking at rescuing!) but if you love your dog and take care of him, he will love you unconditionally!!
If you’re not able to commit to owning your own you could consider offering to help a friend or neighbour with theirs or volunteering at a rescue.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, Integrative Psychotherapist, Nurse Specialist (Mental Health), Mum, Youth Worker, Trainer.......