Today, Monday the 24th of July, is Lifeline’s Stress Down Day.
Stress is something we all suffer from at some point in our lives and research shows that 90% of Australians need to stress less. Work is one of the highest sources of stress, with 74% of Australians reporting that they are particularly stressed from work.
Today’s society is highly demanding with the introduction of smart phones and other technologies into the home. Increasingly people are able to work from home to achieve more flexibility and work-life balance but this arrangement can be a double-edged sword. People are no longer able to leave work at the door but instead are expected to respond to phone calls and emails at all hours of the day and night. More and more, Australian workers are finding it harder to switch off, slow down and engage with their natural surroundings.
With such high levels of stress in the community, Lifeline are trying to draw attention for the need to reduce stress levels every day so they have organised this day to highlight the very detrimental effects of stress on health, both mental and physical.
Interaction with nature and therapeutic gardens have been shown to reduce stress and improve health outcomes. Regularly looking at and spending time in natural environments can reduce blood pressure, improve mood and reduce the symptoms of depression, amongst other highly positive impacts. Active gardening is also a great source of exercise that is accessible to people of all ages and abilities, with exercise being known to raise endorphins.
Sensory therapeutic gardens are also a wonderful way of reducing stress levels in children. Studies have demonstrated that spending time in these spaces can be an excellent way of stimulating the brain without the stress of directed concentration. Children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have also been shown to improve their concentration skills when they take regular breaks from intellectually challenging tasks by spending time interacting with nature. Scientific studies have also shown that children are more able to cope with the stresses of life when they spend regular time playing outdoors.
Adults who spend time in green environments also have improved levels of concentration, problem solving and other work-related skills, making them more effective in the workplace. Improved workplace productivity may mean reduced stress levels from shorter hours in the office with work being completed more quickly and competently.
So why not take the time today to take a break? Step out into the park, spend time in your garden and generally slow down. Reduce your stress by reconnecting with nature and perhaps involve your children too; remember children experience significant stress as well.
Lifeline are also raising money today for their excellent work supporting some of community’s most vulnerable individuals. Most of us, even when we are very stressed, consider ourselves blessed in our lives. If you are able to donate to this worthwhile organisation, you can do so by visiting this link: http://stressdown.gofundraise.com.au/