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November 2, 2022 (Updated May 18th, 2023)

National Stress Awareness Day: Finding New Ways To Cope

by Caragh Medlicott posted in Mental Health.

Ayoa | National Stress Awareness Day: Finding New Ways To Cope
Stress is an unavoidable part of human life. All of us, at some point or other, will experience it. However, this doesn’t mean we should accept it as a normal feature in our daily lives, or stop taking steps to address it when it does appear. National Stress Awareness Day is so important in removing the stigma associated with stress, and also raising awareness of the negative symptoms which can come along with it such as forgetfulness, worry and difficulty concentrating (among other physical manifestations such as headaches and dizziness).

We’ve all encountered the typical suggestions for tackling stress – from meditation to counselling – and as crucial as these avenues are, today we’re going to explore some lesser known techniques for lowering stress and boosting wellbeing so you can find new ways to cope. Keep reading for some new tips and tricks to help you better manage stress when it comes to work and problem solving.

Take the pressure off with AI

Is there anything worse than trying to force ideas and keep working when you’re already feeling stressed? Often, the added pressure of deadlines and expectations can make the stress worse than it was before. There’s a frequent misconception that artificial intelligence (AI) is somehow in opposition with humanity. In actual fact, AI can alleviate stress in certain situations and boost the power of human ingenuity.

So often when we’re struggling to push through a problem or come up with new ideas, we’re actually just lacking inspiration. This is where AI comes in. By posing questions, adding prompts, or asking for solutions, AI can take whatever topic you’re working with and give you new angles and perspectives. It’s for this exact reason Ayoa features AI which naturally superpowers your thinking to boost creativity and minimise stress – taking stuff off your plate while improving your personal ideas.

Accessibility as the default

There’s no denying that neurodiversity is finally getting the attention it deserves. Neurological conditions such as ADHD, dyslexia and autism are much more common than was once thought, with some estimates suggesting that one in seven people are neurodivergent. Of course, not every person who is neurodivergent is officially diagnosed, and everyone – whether neurotypical or neurodivergent – can benefit from an inclusive way of working. After all, neurodivergent individuals are known for their creative abilities and problem solving finesse, something we could all do with a bit more of.

For these reasons it’s especially important that accessibility (referring to a way of working which suits all neurological make ups) should naturally be a default, not something resorted to when pressingly needed. Without accessibility at the forefront of working life, unnecessary stresses and frustrations are much more likely to arise. Tools like Ayoa are made for everyone in the truest sense, with the option to pick your style for visualising work, stress is eliminated and everyone feels catered to while still being able to collaborate together rather than siloed working within different tools.

Try getting creative

When stress is grinding you down and it feels like there are no other options, it’s time to get creative! Sometimes problem-solving adds to the stress of a situation, but being creative in a fun, non-pressure way might just have the opposite effect. There is evidence suggesting that creative pursuits can actually help reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety, so the very act of being creative – even if you don’t find a solution – can help to alleviate stress all on its own.

Frequently, creativity succeeds where hard work alone fails. Why not try using a creative problem solving technique such as reverse brainstorming? This involves looking for ways to worsen, rather than solve, the problem at hand. It may sound silly, but often finding an entirely new perspective on something reveals solutions which never would have occurred to you before. When this works out, you can kill two birds with one stone – getting respite from stress, and finding novel solutions to tricky problems.

When it gets too much

While all of the above provide some fun, less-talked about options for dealing with stress, it’s important to recognise that when things get too much in a serious way, the most important thing is to reach out to a professional or a loved one. No one should suffer in silence or feel ashamed for struggling with stress when it gets too much. Plus, all of the above tips should be supplemented with regular exercise, a healthy diet and (crucially) high quality sleep. Nobody can ever guarantee that stress won’t strike at some time in the future, and that’s why this National Stress Awareness Day we should always remember to be kind and compassionate – to others and to ourselves.

Caragh Medlicott

Caragh Medlicott is a freelance writer and interim Editor of Wales Arts Review. After graduating with a First-Class Honours degree in English Literature and an MA in Creative Writing from Cardiff University she began a full-time writing career in Wales. She is the author of several published short stories and was shortlisted for the Lunate 500 award in December 2020, and a finalist in Narrative’s 30 Below competition in 2021. She is a regular contributor to BBC Wales' The Review Show.

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