Keeping on top of your mental health in today’s taxing world can be tough. But a few changes can help lift the burden
Human beings are not built to endure prolonged periods of stress. If you want to see an extreme example of what it can do to a person, observe prime ministers as they enter and exit Downing Street. Before, fresh-faced, they simper for the cameras. Afterwards, they are gaunt, grey and lined. It is like watching an accelerated version of ageing, and a reminder of how stress corrodes the human body.
We live in stressful times, though. More people are scratching a living in the gig economy, without paid leave or long-term job security. Austerity has ripped through communities like bullets through plasterboard, destroying the mental health of those forced into dehumanising encounters with the machinery of the welfare state. The Amazon is burning, a no-deal Brexit is looming and we are hurtling headfirst towards climate catastrophe. It is no wonder that our mental health services are in crisis, more young people are seeking help for anxiety and schoolchildren are being taught mindfulness to cope with the stresses of social media. According to a 2018 study, 75% of Britons experienced such profound stress in the previous year that they felt unable to cope.
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