• Stress is the body’s normal reaction when changes occur. This could be a physical, mental, or emotional response.
  • If prolonged, stress can negatively affect your immune system, increase the risk of heart attack, and even affect your mental health issues by leaving you vulnerable to depression, and other mental health problems.
  • Below are three ways to help you deal with it.

Every year, people all over the world celebrate World Mental Health Day on October 10th. The goal is to raise awareness of mental health and advocate against the social stigma associated with this issue. 

In honour of World Mental Health Day, we are paying attention to the relationship between stress and mental health.

What does stress have to do mental health?

First, let's start by saying that stress is totally normal. It's basically the body responding to changes by releasing certain chemicals, including the famous adrenaline. 

Stressed woman(ebony)

This can be caused by many things including money problems, the death of a loved one, relationship issues, problems at work, losing a job and even positive life changes like getting married.

The problem comes when you experience long-term (chronic) stress without doing anything to fix it. When this happens, then stress can wreak havoc on your mental health and the rest of your body.

Stress can lead to high blood pressure, migraines, weight loss or gain and make you more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

American Psychological Association's "Stress in America" report, 2010 (American Psychological Association)

ALSO READ: All you need to know about humiliation — the silent suicide trigger

So, how do we deal with stress?

  • Start by identifying the issue and the solution 

Is it work? Relationship issues? Maybe you need to start delegating certain tasks or save more so you have fewer money challenges. Figure out what it is causing this prolonged stress and come up with a plan to address the issues.

  • Sleep more

Your body needs sleep to function properly which means constant lack of sleep can only worsen your stress and mental health. 

Family sleeping together(Romper)

So, try making time for more sleep. Put off your phone, turn off the lights and try going to bed on time. Having adequate sleep should leave you feeling rested and ready to handle the day’s challenges. 

  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle

Certain habits like smoking and drinking alcohol or caffeine can actually increase feelings of anxiety and stress. This is why it's important to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Eat healthy food that offer adequate amounts of nutrients and positively affect your mind. Make sure you exercise too since walking and other physical activities that cause your body to produce endorphins(nature’s painkillers/happy hormones) which leave you in a better mood.