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Stress Management

Posted by Brady Bunch on

A little bit of pressure is good as it gives you the motivation to perform better. However, too much pressure on a prolonged period can lead to stress which is unhealthy for the mind and body.


Too much stress for a prolonged period can lead health problems including anxiety, depression, insomnia, high blood pressure, stomach and duodenal ulcers, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and over-active thyroid.

Tips to relieve stress

Just say no

It is important to say no at times and know your limits. It is a trait of many of us to try do everything. If tasks or commitments are becoming too much of a burden, it is important to learn when to ask for help. Stress is deemed a health and safety hazard by the Health and Safety Authority. Therefore if you feel stressed due to your work responsibilities it is important to discuss this with your employer at the earliest opportunity.

Deep breathing
If you feel yourself getting stressed, try to halt those feelings in their tracks by relaxing your muscles and taking deep breaths. Start by inhaling for three seconds, then exhale for a little longer. This will help to remove the older oxygen from your lungs and replace it with fresh oxygen that will improve your circulation and alertness.

Healthy eating

It is important to eat a healthy, balanced diet when you are stressed because food and drink can have a big influence on the way that you feel and act. Some people find that stress causes them to snack on sugary, unhealthy foods such as crisps and biscuits. This gives your body a sugar rush followed by a sharp drop in your sugar and energy levels. This can make you feel tired or irritable, as well as making it harder for you to concentrate. You should also try to reduce the amount of caffeine and alcohol that you drink because they can have similar effects on your body as stress and anxiety.


The benefit of exercise to relieve stress is often underestimated. Exercise releases a chemical called serotonin, which makes you feel happier and less stressed. Exercise also allows you to take out your frustration and anger in a constructive way.


It is common for your sleep pattern to be disturbed when you are feeling stressed and this invariably leads to more stress. If you are having difficulty sleeping, you should ask your pharmacist or GP to discuss your sleep pattern and any potential causes of stress.

Quit smoking

Contrary to popular belief, smoking does not help to combat stress. In fact, it can make stress worse and it causes damage to your body. For more help in giving up smoking, visit your local pharmacy or ring the Smokers Quitline, 1850 201 203.


When you are stressed, your muscles often tense, which can cause muscular aches to develop later on. When you feel yourself getting stressed, shrug your shoulders a few times and shake out your arms and legs. This will help to loosen your muscles. A massage or reflexology can also be very beneficial. Check out Whelehans Holistic Therapy and Beauty for great massage and reflexology deals.


Laughter is a great way to relieve stress. Watch funny movies. Read funny stories. Meet up with friends who you can have a good laugh with. Laughter causes the release of neurotransmitters called endorphins in the brain which reduce stress by giving a feeling of well being.

Be Realistic in Expectations

Don’t expect everyone to be like you or behave as you want them to. Don’t expect to be right all the time. You can’t expect harmony all the time. In reality, life will have conflicts in it. Be willing to confront conflict, state your needs then work at coming to a mutual compromise.



Counseling involves talking to someone about a range of issues, such as the triggers for your stress. A counselor will encourage you to discuss your feelings and they can help you to find solutions to your problems. They can also help you to discover ways to deal with stress and its effects.


If stress is affecting your mood, your doctor may prescribe antidepressants. There is sometimes a taboo about taking antidepressants but they can be very beneficial in most cases.  If you are suffering from anxiety, there are several options which can be used temporarily to get you through this period.

Anti-anxiety drugs such as benzodiazepines may be prescribed and can sometimes be beneficial for the short term relief of anxiety and stress. They are not a long term solution and treatment should be limited to the shortest possible dose for the shortest possible time. Benzodiazepines are safe for the short periods of use of five days or less. Unfortunately, in too many cases in Ireland over the years, patients have been prescribed benzodiazapines such as Valium® and Xanax® long term and this has lead to dependence problems. Their effect is reduced if used for too long. Betablockers which are mainly used for high blood pressure are sometimes prescribed for anxiety caused by stress as they reduce heart palpitations and tremor. Natural medicines are available which may help mild anxiety and stress. These contain natural ingredients such as hops and valerian. Examples available in Whelehans include Kalms® and Rescue Remedy®. Their efficacy is questionable.

Upcoming talk on depression and mental health

Whelehans Pharmacy have organised an expert panel to discuss depression and mental health early in the New Year in Mullingar; some of the leading local experts on this subject will be talking. This talk will be open to all and will be free of charge. The date will be confirmed; keep an eye on this column in the coming weeks for more details. In order to avoid disappointment, you can put your name down on the waiting list for this event by calling Whelehans at 04493 34591.

For comprehensive and free health advice and information call in to Whelehans, log on to or dial 04493 34591.

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