April marks the start of Stress Awareness Month which helps to bring public awareness to both the causes and effect of stress.

Stress Awareness Month started in 1992 and has taken place every April since then.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, 74% of adults in the past year have felt so stressed they felt unable to cope or overwhelmed.

There are millions of people struggling with stress, or have at one time and it can have an effect on your health.

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Stress can be linked to mental health problems as well as changes to your body causing problems with immune systems and digestive problems.

You can check your mood with the mood self-assessment quiz provided by the NHS.

Mind in Salford offers mindfulness courses which are prioritised for low or no income Salford residents with current or previous mental health issues.

The course focuses on body scan, mindful breathing, mindful sitting meditation, mindful movement, mindful walking and everyday mindfulness in order to support your well-being and improve psychological and emotional resilience.

Naomi Evans, communications officer for Mind in Salford told us “National Stress Awareness Month is a great opportunity to encourage conversation and support around the issue of managing stress.

“Stress is often a part of everyday life, but when these feelings start to become overwhelming that’s when it starts to become a problem and you should seek support.

“There are lots of great online resources available to learn more about the signs and symptoms of stress, and here at Mind in Salford we offer training courses such as Mindfulness sessions to help reduce stress.”

The courses can be joined by emailing mindfulness@mindinsalford.org.uk with a referral form that has been completed.

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Mind in Salford offers mindfulness meditation audio to accompany their 8-week Mindfulness Courses.

How can you help yourself and others this Stress Awareness Month?

Talk about stress and help to reduce the stigma- By encouraging conversations about stress, it helps to people to feel less like a burden. Encourage conversations with your friends, family and colleagues.

Self-care- Alongside looking after others, remember to look after yourself and have some ‘me’ time. By taking time out of your day to relax or do something that you enjoy it can help distress you. Join Start in Salford and take part in their Start Inspiring Minds project. Take part in projects of visual arts, photography, horticulture, calligraphy, ceramics and textiles.

Be active- Exercise will help to reduce some of the emotional stress and help to clear thoughts. Join some of the different exercise classes across the eight leisure centre in Salford. Exercise groups range from spinning to aerobics to Zumba.

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Being near nature- Nature has been proven to help reduce stress and combining exercise and nature is even better. Visit nearby Worsley Wood, where you could go for a run or just enjoy taking in the surroundings. Or even volunteer to be part of Salford volunteer rangers.

Share coping mechanisms with other people- Speak to others and swap tips of things that have helped you in feeling better.

Try mindfulness- studies suggest that mindfulness can help reduce stress and improve your mood. Try downloading mindfulness and relaxation apps or apply for one of the mindfulness courses by Mind in Salford.

Photograph credit: Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images, obtained from The Blue Diamond Gallery

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