Get to know your error messages

When an appliance or device has a problem, it has ways of letting us know. It starts to make funny sounds, stops working as well, or shows us an error message. These serve as warning signs that all is not well, and tell us we need to take action to keep the item working. Unfortunately, human beings aren’t so good at flagging up when there is something wrong. This can be problematic if we are facing prolonged stress that is not managed, leaving us vulnerable to negative consequences such as chronic sleep disruption, burnout, physical illnesses and strained relationships.

Every year, stress awareness month prompts us to be mindful of our stress levels and take action to look after ourselves so that stress doesn’t get the better of us. We may put in helpful practices, but these tend to be the first things we drop when the demands on us increase! At Central Minds, we are passionate about encouraging the small habits that help us to maintain good mental health. One of the best things we can do is to pay attention to our own error messages or funny sounds – the small signs that all is not well. If we can catch these early, we can take care of our stress levels and keep our mental health at a good level.

The signs of stress are unique to each of us. Perhaps when you are stressed, you find yourself snapping at your spouse, eating more junk food or withdrawing from social events. When stress starts to get to us, we often engage in unhelpful actions that amplify our stress. Pay attention to the small changes that emerge when you are stressed so that you can notice these. It might be helpful to ask those closest to you how they can tell when you are stressed, as they can often see blind spots that we can’t see.

The other thing you can do is to act on your error messages early. When you do notice that your signs of stress are starting to show themselves, it is time to put actions in place. This does not need to be anything major; you can turn things around by introducing small habits like going for a 15 minute walk when you are 4 hours into writing a report, or spending 30 minutes of your evening catching up with a friend instead of working. While these actions might take us away from our obligations temporarily, they tend to revitalise us and leave us better equipped to handle further stresses we may face.

If you are interested in scheduling a session with Dr. Hannah Sugarman or have further queries, please contact us today.

About The Author

Dr Hannah Sugarman

Dr Sugarman has worked in the field of psychology for eight years across a range of different settings and with clients across the lifespan. She has experience working in inpatient, outpatient and community mental and physical health settings. She offers treatment for adults experiencing a wide range of mental health symptoms, ranging from mild, acute difficulties to more longstanding complex problems. Dr Sugarman has a special interest in working with clients with short- and long-term physical health conditions, including medically unexplained symptoms.Dr Sugarman also has training and experience in neuropsychology, and can provide cognitive assessments for children and adults. She can also offer teaching, training and workshops for a variety of audiences.