Learn the skills to help you deal with stress

Leitrim course

Leitrim Observer Reporter


Leitrim Observer Reporter

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The HSE continues to roll out the highly regarded Stress Control programme in Sligo and Leitrim with the next programme starting on Wednesday, March 1 in Sligo IT at 6.30pm.

Stress affects people from all walks of life. Although no two people will have exactly the same problems, we all have a lot in common when we are feeling stressed. We can find it hard to relax, we can worry a great deal, we can lose confidence and a sense of control and get despondent.

While it is normal to have a certain degree of stress in our lives, for many of us the stress has become too much, whatever we do we can’t seem to get on top of it. When stress is running our lives there are inevitable and often serious consequences – our health may begin to deteriorate as our immune system becomes compromised by stress hormones continually flooding our body, physical tension becomes the new normal and we no longer know how to relax or even what being relaxed feels like.

Our relationships at home or at work may suffer as we become more snappy and irritable, our thinking becomes less clear, more confused and consequently we may make poor decisions in our day to day affairs.

We may find ourselves with high levels of anxiety or depression that we can’t seem to shift. All of these consequences develop into vicious circles in our lives, we get stressed during the day, we find we can’t sleep because of worrying and then we are exhausted the next day and even more prone to getting stressed by the slightest things and so on…worse we may start using alcohol to help us sleep.

Sadly for many of us these consequences are becoming all too common.  Research in the UK found that almost 90% of all visits to GP’s were stress-related, so if you are suffering from stress you are clearly ‘not alone’, most people are struggling to cope with stress in their lives.

The research is telling us that 25% of the population is suffering from sub-clinical stress – that’s mild to moderate levels of anxiety or depression, and this is having consequences on their health, 9% of these people are more likely to die from cancer, 25% are more likely to die from cardiovascular disease and for most there will be increases in smoking, alcohol consumption and weight gain.

As a country we spend literally millions of euros every year on prescriptions for drugs to treat depression, anxiety and lack of sleep. Wouldn’t it be great if we could learn to stop stress in it’s tracks, learn how to recognise the symptoms of stress in our lives, understand how it affects us and most importantly the simple things we can do right now to get our lives back together and away from stress.

Stress Control is a free six session programme. Each session lasts for 90 minutes and is delivered once a week.

‘Stress Control’ was devised by Dr Jim White, a clinical psychologist in Glasgow to help the large number of people who complained of stress and who were keen to learn how to tackle their problems themselves.

Through research, this evidence-based course has been improved over the years and Stress Control is now available in many different countries.

People who come to Stress Control come to learn simple strategies for alleviating stress, and the course is delivered in a ‘chalk and talk’ format so that people do not need to interact, this makes it less stressful for participants, there are no embarrassing exercises, just simple information explained in such a way that people learn over the course how to become their own therapists. Handouts are given for each session, and people practice the exercises between sessions.

Previous participants have stated  "I was off work due to stress, when this course started. Thanks to the tips I have been able to ‘face my fears’ and return to work."  and "The taught programme was a ‘gift’. Knowing I could attend and just spend my time just focusing on listening’".

The Stress Control courses are led by the Stress Control team including Dr. Mark O’Callaghan, Mike Rainsford HSE Mental Health Promotion Specialist and Dr Alan Gregory Senior Education Psychologist.

The next course will be held at Sligo IT, dates: March 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, April 5; from 6.30pm to 8pm.

For more information on Stress Control contact:  Thomas McBride, HSE Health Promotion on 071 91 35908  or e-mail: Thomas.McBride@hse.ie.

If stress is concerning you or someone you know it’s important to talk to your GP to get help and advice.