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Be aware of stress ​

The first Wednesday in November each year is National Stress Awareness Day, and we want the people of Lewisham to take care of their emotional wellbeing.

Stress is part of life, and it's essential in prompting us into action. But if the stress is ongoing, unresolved or overwhelming, it can have a profound effect on people's health.

Local GP and Senior Clinical Director at the CCG, Dr Charles Gostling said: "At an emotional level, stress can lead to a 'fight or flight' response.  We all know what it's like to feel stressed – being under pressure is a normal part of life. Indeed, healthy stress enables us to achieve things, strive for a purpose or avoid danger or discomfort.

"But becoming overwhelmed by stress, a stress that is unproductive and can lead to mental and physical health problems or make existing health concerns worse."

National Stress Awareness Day is a great opportunity to take a moment to think about our wellbeing and find advice or support on managing stress.

Dr Gostling added: "Sometimes when people are stressed, they may turn to alcohol, cigarettes or other harmful substances.  These may provide a short-term fix, but in the long term, will cause more problems – both emotionally and physically.

"It's far better to look at what is causing the stress and tackle that. The NHS website has information and advice on recognising and dealing with stress in a positive way, while not being too harsh on yourself."

The mental health charity, Mind, also has plenty of information on stress and how you can manage it.

If the stress is overwhelming and does not respond to the above measures all NHS areas have psychological therapies to which you can self-refer.  If you prefer, you can also seek help from your GP.