Handling stress

Most people experience some level of stress on a daily basis. For example, the rising cost of living is on everyone’s mind right now and is having an impact on most people’s personal finances. If you’re having to make difficult decisions about what you can afford, it’s normal to feel stressed or down. But if stress is becoming constant or overwhelming, try some things that have known anti-stress effects.

Caroline shows movement you can do sitting in a chair

How to do seated movement:

  1. Find a comfortable seated position.
  2. Keep your feet flat on the floor.
  3. Sit up tall.
  4. Look to the right, then to the left.
  5. Tuck your chin towards your chest.
  6. Gently move your right ear towards your right shoulder, and same on your left.
  7. Gently twist to your right, then left.
  8. Give yourself a big hug.
  9. Take a side-stretch to the right, then left.
  10. Make a hunched position, then draw your shoulders back and up.
  11. Draw your right knee in, then left.
  12. Take a big breath in and sigh the breath out.

Read an introduction to breathing and relaxation exercises.

Visit Actify’s exercise at home list to find exercises suitable for all abilities that can be done at home.

For non-active ideas to help your wellbeing, visit Young Scot’s how to get creative page.

Tommy explains how stress affected every area of his life

Tommy recommends:

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

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

SAMH has advice for coping when supporting someone else.

Mind’s Talking Tips offer guidance on how to listen to someone trying to talk about their mental health and wellbeing.

Geoff introduces Mia, his cat

Geoff talks about his cat and how it helps with his mental wellbeing. He also suggests:

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

Visit make space for nature by Nature Scot to learn how nature can improve your mental and physical health.

Visit Actify’s Get Outside Get Active page to find ideas for individuals and families to get active.

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

Susan shares how she has dealt with stress over the last few years

Susan suggests:

  • walking and swimming can really help
  • learning something new that you’ve never done before
  • doing something to help others
  • comedy podcasts can help you relax and switch off
  • writing things down in a journal really helps get it out of your system

Paths For All and VisitScotland have information on walking and hiking paths across Scotland.

You can read about the accessible outdoors on DisabilityScot, AllTrails and Euan’s Guide.

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

A message from Pete, a GP, about stress


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

Read about other breathing and relaxation exercises.

For some quick tips on ways to address stress, try 10 stress busters.

Dr Dean Burnett explains the neuroscience of stress

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

Read more about struggling with stress.

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.

If you need urgent help

During office hours, you can contact your GP.

Anytime, you can phone 111.

In an emergency you can phone 999.

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