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News | Monday, 14th May 2018

Tips for coping with stress from a psychology expert

Dr Maria Cordero shares her advice on how to achieve a “healthy stress” lifestyle

Psychologists can help you to identify and cope with the stressors, and break the cycle of stress

Dr Maria Cordero, Reader in Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University, shares her advice for dealing with stress…

Stress is the elephant in the room - it is inevitable. More than 70 years ago, Hans Selye, a pioneer in stress research, stated that: “Stress is life and life is stress.”

Stress was a factor when our body's biology evolved to respond to environmental challenges (stressors) in such a way that we now function at an optimal level when we are exposed to moderate stress, so too little stress can be detrimental. It can be as detrimental to our general performance and the health of our body (including our brain and therefore our mental health) as too much stress.

Even though our bodies are prepared to deal with stress, we also need some “stress-free time” to allow our system to recover - in the same way that our bodies are prepared to function in an “awake mode” but we also need to sleep.

We need to learn to live and cope with stress in a healthy way so we can thrive in our professional and personal lives. My main tips to achieve a “healthy stress” lifestyle are:

Remember not to avoid stress - this wouldn’t be healthy, and almost impossible. What is important is to avoid feeling stressed constantly. Take healthy breaks from stress, allow your system to replenish so you can be in a better condition to deal with the stressors in your life.

And, if you feel overwhelmed by stress seek professional help. Psychologists can help you to identify and cope with the stressors, and break the cycle of stress.

About the academic

Dr Maria Cordero’s research focus is to understand how early-life exposure to stress and violence, like maltreatment and interpersonal violence, increases the risk to develop mental disorders. Her research goal is to understand the psycho-socio-neurobiological mechanisms of early-life stress associated mental disorders and to develop effective psychological and pharmacological strategies to prevent and treat them.

Dr Cordero has extensive experience in both animal and human research in areas of stress, developmental psychopathology, cognitive and emotional disorders.

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