How to reduce stress and anxiety

What’s the difference between stress and anxiety?

Stress is a response to an external cause and subsides once the situation has been resolved.
Anxiety is a person’s specific reaction to stress; its origin is internal. People have an ongoing feeling of apprehension or dread even in non-threatening situations. Unlike stress, anxiety persists even after a concern has passed.


Stress can be caused by big life events: death and grief, moving house, redundancy, relationship breakups. However, it’s ongoing daily stressors that can gradually build up and really affect someone’s mental wellbeing.
For example financial worries, being bullied or constantly undermined, ongoing physical pain or illness, too stretched and overloaded with responsibility at home and at work. 
What can cause stress in the workplace? There are many, but these are some key ones:
  • Overload and long hours
  • Feeling undervalued - demoralising
  • Bullying or harassment
  • Conflicts
  • Lack of clarity on the role and poor training
  • Work environment – poor equipment, noisy, facilities
  • Not being able to talk openly about stress

Stress coping mechanisms

  • Talk over worries
  • Limit expectations – set reasonable goals, tackle a few key tasks
  • Eat well and exercise
  • Create a nice working environment – flowers, pictures, light, tidy
  • Take breaks
  • Learn to say no
  • Relax and listen to music
  • Have fun
  • 5 ways to wellbeing
  • Mentemia App


Anxiety is a normal and healthy response to danger and threat. Our body gets ready for action – to fight or flee. So it is useful when there is a life-threatening danger. Adrenaline increases into the bloodstream which helps us run faster and think our way out of a tricky situation.
However, it is not so good if there is less of a threat. Things become exaggerated and we feel wound up, nervous and can’t think clearly. It leads to a sense of dread, panic or feeling frightened.
We can eventually “flip our lid” due to the adrenaline and cortisol taking over our rational thinking.
Some keys signs of anxiety are:
  • people start seeing the worst-case scenario in everything
  • become withdrawn
  • start avoiding certain situations.

How to reduce anxiety

  • Question – is it really a problem?
  • Talk it out with someone you trust
  • Write it out, it will put it in perspective
  • Breathe deeply and let tension out
  • Work it off – physical exercise
  • Distance it – ie how big is this problem going to look in 10 years time?
  • Pin It or Bin It App -  A basic but quite fun app based on neuroplasticity and changing the way you perceive things.
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