Five ways to take control of your stress

Millions of people in the UK experience high levels of stress and it is damaging to not only our mental health, but our physical health too.

Stress has been linked to illnesses such as heart disease, insomnia and digestive problems, which just goes to show how important it is for us to recognise stress and combat the triggers.

Here we have put together a list of five ways that can help you can take control and reduce feelings of stress.

1. Talk about your stress

It is no secret that mental health can be very difficult to talk about; this is the same with stress. But if you do have someone trustworthy to talk to, it could help relieve any stressful feelings.

Alternatively, you could write down your thoughts and feelings in a diary which could help you keep track of any potential triggers.

2. Get active

Exercise can help clear your thoughts and reduce the amount of emotional intensity you feel. This should be something you enjoy doing such as going on a dog walk, swimming laps or playing football.

If you’re not sure how much exercise you need, take a look at the NHS guidance.

3. Breathe

Taking a moment to stop and breathe can do more good than you think!

To try this, make sure you are in a comfortable position, close your eyes and take a few deep breathes for five to ten minutes at a time.

4. Take a break

If you are finding yourself becoming stressed in a work or school environment, take a quick break.

Removing yourself from a stressful situation can allow you the time and space to think about your triggers and take the necessary precautions to help.

Taking a break could be as simple as walking around the block or watching that next episode on your Netflix list.

5. Be kind to yourself

Lastly (and most importantly), be kind to yourself. It is perfectly natural and normal to feel stressed. The world can be hard to navigate at times and everyone at some point in their lives will find themselves in a stressful situation.

The way you show kindness to others should be the way you show kindness to yourself. Think about how you would usually help a friend in need and do it for you instead.

Ideally this should be an activity that is for your enjoyment and makes you feel nurtured such as making your ideal meal or watching your favourite film.

Henry Ives, who will be running an ultra-marathon

“My mindset on mental health is so different now… and a big part of that is my exercise regime and lifestyle”

Henry Ives, the founder of online personal training platform H+ Performance, is running a 50km ultra-marathon across Dartmoor in aid of the Charlie Watkins Foundation. Here, Henry explains why he is doing this and how exercise has been a vital part of his life.

I became a personal trainer in 2013 after a bad skiing accident which put me in hospital for 10 days with a ruptured kidney.

This very much changed my outlook on life – it made me realise how we need to not be afraid to do what we want to do.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 halted plans for me to open up my own training studio in London, which meant 2020 was a very stressful year for me.

I turned to exercise and running during the pandemic, especially the lockdowns, as a way of release from the stress and nerves.

I have therefore challenged myself for 2021 to traverse the whole of Dartmoor in an ultra-distance event.

This is to not only test myself against the difficult terrain Dartmoor offers, but to also raise vital funds for a foundation close to my heart, the Charlie Watkins Foundation.

Charlie’s father and mine are cousins and I remember Charlie  fondly growing up with his brother, Harry.

I didn’t know Charlie was struggling with mental health issues to the extent he was when he was at university. I also struggled with depression and anxiety in my last year of university and, like him, I had always found it difficult to talk about it.

Back then I was so reluctant to seek help or talk to anyone because I was afraid about what they might think of me and I felt guilty for “burdening” people.

We need to change this narrative surrounding depression and anxiety, which is why I think the work that the Charlie Watkins Foundation is doing is so important.

My mindset on mental health is so different now from how it used to be and a big part of that is my exercise regime and lifestyle.

For me, exercise makes me feel great, which is why I do it. I’m a big believer that you should be using your body as much you can while you can!

Introducing regular exercise has so many benefits, including improving mental health and overall wellness.

So, why not buy some trainers, set aside some time and start jogging tomorrow? Who knows, maybe you’ll be joining me soon for an ultra-marathon too!


If you would like to support Henry in this challenge and help us to make a difference, please consider making a donation.

The Charlie Watkins Foundation strives to raise funding for vital projects to help young people across the UK who are facing serious mental health challenges. We are currently working with Student Minds on a vital assessment tool for universities and YES on a project supporting 11-16-year-olds.

If you would like to hold an event or fundraiser for the Charlie Watkins Foundation, please do this through our JustGiving page.