National Stress Awareness Day this year is Wednesday 1st November, and the focus is Speak Up and Speak Out About Stress. There is still a stigma attached to mental health awareness, especially in the workplace, and this needs to end. As I’ve talked about previously: stress and anxiety can manifest themselves as physical illnesses if not dealt with properly, so it’s critical that you don’t ignore it.

When we’re stressed, angry and frustrated, the body can produce an unhealthy build-up of hormones. Pent-up levels of the “stress hormone” cortisol leads to sleeplessness, headaches and even digestive problems.

Clinical trials have shown that massage decreases cortisol in the body. Combined with essential oils such as Chamomile and Lavender the body enters a relaxing rest-and-recovery mode: an effect that lingers long after the massage is over. In fact, massage triggers a host of brain chemistry responses that can result in lasting feelings of relaxation, lower stress levels and improved mood.

If you’re suffering from stress and anxiety, don’t ignore it. If you do, it can become a chronic problem leading to further stress and so begins a vicious cycle that becomes increasingly difficult to break. But the good news is that you can break it. With a combination of massage, aromatherapy, exercise and lifestyle advice you can find yourself better able to cope with the stresses you face and hopefully find a greater inner peace.

A note of caution however, if you do feel that you’re struggling to cope, then you must see your GP so that he/she can assess you properly. But don’t be too quick to go on anti-depressants, there are many negative side effects to taking them long term. They do have their place, but its good to try other things first wherever possible.

Even if you aren’t suffering from stress yourself, the likelihood is that you know somebody who is. The Speak Up and Speak Out campaign this year is about letting people know that it’s okay to talk about it, people don’t have to suffer in silence. So add your voice to the thousands of others across the world in supporting people suffering from stress and to raise awareness of the issue across your network.

Click here to learn more about our Stress & Anxiety Programme