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Handling stress

There are few people that don’t experience some level of stress on a daily basis. It’s part of modern life. But if stress is becoming constant or overwhelming, try some things that have known anti-stress effects.

Susan shares how she has dealt with stress since the pandemic

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For some quick tips on ways to handle stress, try NHS inform’s 10 stress busters.

Read how you can use journaling to help manage and reduce stress and anxiety on BBC Bitesize.

Find out more about a range of volunteering experiences to help others on Volunteer Scotland.

Susan suggests: 

  • Walking and swimming can really help.
  • Learn something new that you’ve never done before.
  • Do something to help others.
  • Comedy podcasts can help you relax and switch off.
  • Writing things down in a journal really gets it out of your system. 

61% of Scots found that going for a walk outside helped them to cope with the stress of the pandemic. (Mental Health Foundation)

Tommy explains how stress affected every area of his life

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You can find out more about breathing techniques by listening to this 3 minute episode of Dr Mosley's podcast.

Mindful and Mindfulness Scotland have a range of information and resources to help you practice mindfulness and meditation.

Living Life to the Full is an evidence-based online course to help with anxiety and stress. You can access this for free by registering your name and details.

NHS Health Scotland have a guide and activity pack (PDF format) information pack for dealing with stress to work through at your own pace.

Tommy recommends:

  • breathing exercises and meditation 
  • opening up to someone you trust
  • getting out in nature

Geoff introduces Mia, his cat

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Listen to Dr Michael Mosley's podcast (approximately 15 minutes) to find out if spending time in nature could boost your mood. You can also read his article.

Listen to Dr Michael Mosley’s podcast to find out how to get more benefits from your daily walk.

Geoff talks about the importance of the relationship between human beings and animals. He suggests:

  • going for a morning walk
  • taking time to relax and have a rest

Exposure to nature and green space can significantly impact levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) in your body. (Marcia P. Jimenez et al, 2021)

Dr Dean Burnett explains the neuroscience of stress

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Mindful and Mindfulness Scotland have a range of information and resources to help you practice mindfulness and meditation.

Daylight is an evidence based digital CBT programme to help tackle anxiety and worry. You will be prompted to download the app.

Dean explains:

  • Stress is the first stage of the fight-or-flight response.
  • Stress releases cortisol, suppresses our immune system, interferes with our digestion and can alter our blood pressure.
  • Stress makes us focus more on the negative and puts us in a more irritable state.
  • Mindfulness, recognising and changing negative thought patterns, going outside and getting more exercise can reduce your stress levels.

Caroline shows us movement we can take seated in a chair

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Key steps:

  • Find a comfortable seated position
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor
  • Sit up tall
  • Look to the right, then to the left
  • Tuck your chin towards your chest
  • Gently move your right ear towards your right shoulder, and same on your left
  • Gently twist to your right, then left
  • Give yourself a big hug
  • Take a side-stretch to the right, then left
  • Make a hunched position, then draw your shoulders back and up
  • Draw your right knee in, then left
  • Take a big breath in and sigh the breath out

Exercise and movement reduce the levels of stress hormones in your body. (NHS UK)

Andrew took a bold step and changed his job

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For information on employment and career related training, learning and skills, you should visit the Skills Development Scotland website. If your employment, education or future career choices have been impacted recently, they can help you if you phone 0800 917 800.

Find a range of different services, groups and activities in Scotland and near you.

Find information about beating stress at work on NHS inform.

Andrew suggests:

  • Helping people is really rewarding.
  • Being part of a strong team provides peer support.
  • Find time to pursue your hobbies.
  • Spend more time with those you love.

 A message from Pete, a GP, about stress

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For some quick tips on ways to address stress, try NHS inform’s 10 stress busters.

NHS inform also has some tips and guidance on how to eat a healthy balanced diet.


  • be outside in nature
  • have a hot drink
  • simple breathing exercises
  • get enough sleep
  • get regular exercise
  • eat healthily
  • share how you're feeling with those around you

Saleem advises how CAB can help you

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Citizens Advice Scotland has free, impartial and confidential advice on a range of financial, benefit, housing and employment issues.

There are lots of things in life that can cause stress. If you're worrying about money, work or housing, here are some organisations that can help.

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Financial support

Employment and training support

  • Start Scotland have resources to help you look for work, including health and wellbeing support and self-employment
  • The UK Government have information about support, training and advice on finding a new job
  • Skills Development Scotland has information on employment and career related training, learning and skills

Housing support

Please don’t include personal information e.g. name, location or any personal health conditions.

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