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Research: Stress affects two thirds of NI Population

10 Apr 2017

Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke today (10 April 2017) launched a series of videos aimed at equipping people with the tools to tackle stress as part of the charity’s local ‘Give Stress a Rest’ campaign.

Six videos, each showcasing a different stress management technique, have been created by the charity in direct response to the findings of a province-wide survey. The survey revealed that two out of three people in Northern Ireland feel stressed, those who felt they were the worst at coping (30%) were the most likely to reach for cigarettes, alcohol or comfort food, and critically, that it was this section of the community who were the most keen to learn about new ways of dealing with stress.

The videos have been developed by Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke with its remit of preventing chest, heart and stroke illnesses in Northern Ireland. Extended periods of stress can lead to high blood pressure, increased risk of blood clots and stroke.

The survey also revealed that women (39%) feel more stressed than their male counterparts (28%), people of working age are more prone to being affected by stress than others and that perhaps we should be looking towards the older generations for lessons in stress management as they came out on top in terms of feeling least stressed and most able to cope.

Fidelma Carter, Public Health Director from NI Chest Heart and Stroke, said: “Our survey showed that there was a real appetite from those who admitted to not handling stress well to be shown new techniques, and as the leading chest, heart and stroke prevention charity in Northern Ireland, there was no clearer message we could have been sent. Stress is one of the major causes of increases in blood pressure and is a risk factor for stroke and heart disease. We believe that these videos offer people new ways of coping with the stresses and strains of daily life and by adopting techniques outlined they can not only assist in preventing heart disease and stroke but can ultimately save lives. We urge everyone to look at them with an open mind and find the best solution for them.”

The videos have been created in collaboration with leading health and well-being experts and showcase six different holistic approaches to help those most in need.

The different techniques showcased focus on:

  • Squared Breathing – a stress reducing breathing exercise;
  • Non-Reactive Awareness – which enables people to respond to situations in a less stressful manner;
  • Mindful Cooking – applying mindfulness theory to an everyday situation – cooking
  • 5,4,3,2,1 – a mindfulness technique designed to anchor the mind in the present;
  • Reframing which allows stressful situations to be viewed in a different way
  • Good Mood Foods – foods which contain nutrients that actually improve our moods and help in times of stress.

The videos have been developed in collaboration with Ann Ward, Brendan Quinn and Janice Bisp experts in their particular technique. The videos are being made available on NI Chest Heart and Stroke’s website and YouTube channel and will be shared on its Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In social media channels from today.

The survey was initiated as part of NI Chest Heart and Stroke’s ‘Give Stress a Rest campaign’ which aims to raise awareness of what causes stress, how to spot the signs and how your coping mechanisms also affect your risk of stroke.

For more information on the ‘Give Stress a Rest’ campaign visit @nichstweet