Stress Prevention Techniques for GPs

“The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment: you create a good future by creating a good present.”

Eckhart Tolle

GPs are inundated with highly stressed patients

Right now, GPs in the UK are inundated with patients struggling with a range of mental health problems, many of whom are suffering with chronic stress. As life has become increasingly difficult for Britons in the last eight to ten years, with many complicated factors contributing to this, burnout and chronic stress have taken their toll on many otherwise brilliant executives, CEOs, and hardworking (albeit exhausted) employees. GPs themselves are attempting to navigate their own prolonged stress with continuous workload and uncertainty around the future of the NHS, and even doctors in the private sector feeling overwhelmed and burning out.

Whereas episodes of tolerable stress or ‘eustress’ can be quite healthy and can often result in positive outcomes or opportunities for personal growth, chronic stress is damaging to the body, and if endured over a sustained period of time, will lead to a whole host of health complications such as inflammation and metabolic disease.

BMJ (intended for health care professionals) states: “The Health Foundation report analysed data from the Commonwealth Fund’s survey of 9526 GPs in 10 high income countries, including 1010 in the UK. In all countries most GPs reported dealing with higher workloads than before the pandemic, and many said that they had experienced greater stress and signs of emotional distress. But UK GPs reported higher levels of emotional distress and bigger rises in workload than those in nearly all other countries. Some 71% said that they found their job “extremely” or “very stressful,” the highest of the 10 countries surveyed and similar to Germany (68%).”

Mental Health Foundation reports: “74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.” Among the 74% of UK adults: “81% of women said this compared to 67% of men. 83% of 18–24-year-olds said this compared to 65% of people aged 55 and over.” The Mental Health Foundation discovered: “32% of adults said they had experienced suicidal feelings as a result of stress, and 16% of adults said they had self-harmed as a result of stress.”

Forth reports in an articled published this year titled, Mental Health Statistics UK 2024:

  • “More than 1 in 7 UK adults say their mental health is currently either bad, or the worst it’s ever been
  • More women than men are currently struggling with poor mental health (18.5% of women vs 12.5% of men)
  • Young people, aged 16-24 are the most affected by mental health struggles, with nearly a quarter (23.5%) describing their mental health as either bad or the worst it’s ever been
  • In 2023, NHS England spent £217.5 million on medication to treat depression and anxiety
  • Total NHS spend on medications used to treat anxiety and depression was highest at the start of the pandemic, though, with the total spend for 2020 being £346.4 million
  • More antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication are dispensed in the North East and North Cumbria than any other part of England
  • In the UK in 2024, the term ‘How to reduce stress’ is searched on Google once every 10 minutes, on average”

Addcounsel’s approach to stress prevention

Our world-class team of mental health professionals know all too well how challenging it is to work in health care, and to be a practicing GP. As pioneers offering specialised treatment in the United Kingdom, we’re in constant contact with GPs, many of whom are seeking the best options for their patients and need instant access to a private and discreet treatment to deal with mental health issues and addiction. Although GPs have a wealth of knowledge on stress prevention and reduction methods, we’ve recognised that because of our specialised approach, we can offer a great deal of value to GPs who may themselves be suffering with chronic stress, but feel unable to access much needed help and support for themselves.

Let’s explore some of the stress prevention and reduction techniques and methods we offer our patients as they embark on a treatment plan, from early intervention to continued care.

Eating well and staying hydrated

Putting in place a doable fitness regime incorporating ongoing physical activity pays huge dividends for both the mind and body. From strengthening muscles and bones, to applying regular cardio stressors to keep the blood flowing, physical activity is one of the best approaches to preventing and reducing stress and ensuring good brain health. The human body needs to be utilised properly, and so with the right guidance, and considering factors such as age, biology and other circumstances, physical activity will significantly enhance wellbeing. Physical exercise will stimulate endorphins, reduce stress hormones, and promote long-term mental wellness.


Studies have shown that staying hydrated can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as sustain physical wellbeing and brain health. It’s very common for individuals to ignore how basic factors such as being dehydrated can have a major impact on physical and mental wellbeing. Seeing that all human bodies are different, discovering exactly how much hydration is necessary for the individual concerned can be accomplished with the help of an excellent nutritionist.  

Mindfulness and breath work techniques

The data on the health benefits of mindfulness and manipulating the breath is considerable. In 2013/2014 mindfulness became a buzz word in the US and UK, but since then, what was once a niche (and frequently regarded as woo woo) movement has become widely accepted by those seeking and opting for a less stressful lifestyle. Mindfulness has been proven to reduce stress, anxiety, and in some cases has been used to reduce symptoms of depression. Oxford Professor Mark Williams and author of Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World writes: “Anxiety, stress, depression, exhaustion, and irritability all decrease with regular sessions of meditation. Memory improves, reaction times become faster and mental and physical stamina increase. In short, regular meditators are happier and more contented, while being far less likely to suffer from psychological distress.”

Sleep Hygiene

Getting enough sleep is essential to sustain good health, especially brain health. A good night’s sleep, is crucial for brain health, clearing away plaque and avoiding tangles in the brain which we now know play a massive part in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. A good night’s sleep also resets the body and mind, improving mood and concentration. When an individual is suffering from chronic stress and burnout, getting sufficient sleep (or even any at all) can be almost impossible. At this stage of circadian disruption, help is needed to re-establish healthy sleeping/rest patterns which can be maintained long-term. The good news is that physical exercise, focussing on optimal nutrition, fasting, and minimising or eliminating alcohol/recreational drugs entirely can all be hugely beneficial to restoring healthy sleep patterns.

Healthy diet and nutrition

Optimal nutrition is an excellent investment into the preservation of future health and improving the prospects for longevity. There is also growing evidence that good nutrition and anti-inflammatorily eating can significantly improve mental health and wellness and lead to an enhanced sense of wellbeing. National Library of Medicine USA (National Centre for Biotechnology Information) published a study called Eat to Beat Stress. The paper writes: “There is a tendency to accept anxiety as an inevitable part of living in a stressful modern world. However, simple dietary changes can help attenuate the stress response.” One Medical Group (Patients NHS) states: “Certain foods can help reduce cortisol levels, which is the primary hormone responsible for stress released by the adrenal gland releases when your body perceives stress. Cortisol causes an increase in your heart rate and blood pressure. Stress-relieving foods range from fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats.” It continues: “The goal is to eat foods that reduce inflammation in your body, which means fewer processed foods and more whole foods.”

Reflecting on one’s lifestyle

It’s best for an individual to regularly take stock of their current lifestyle and determine whether it’s serving them before reaching crisis point. At Addcounsel, we work with ultra-high-net-worth/highly accomplished individuals with affluent lifestyles, which often come at a high price. A gruelling schedule and full-on social life can only be sustained for so long before a significant toll is taken on both mental and physical health and inevitably, burnout occurs. 

Connecting with people (mutual aid groups)

Isolation is a common symptom for those dealing with chronic stress, even if they’re constantly around people. Keeping distressing thoughts, feelings, and emotions to oneself negatively impacts the body. The appropriate mutual aid group which fosters empathy, privacy, and support can play a significant role in long-term recovery from stress, burnout, and multiple addictive behaviours, thereby reducing the financial burden on the NHS and playing a role to support GPs recommendations for a healthier lifestyle.

Staying creative

Creativity, whether through one’s profession, or a hobby/venture can reduce stress. Humans need to be creative, and this can in practise be fulfilling and reduce stress. There are so many ways to be creative from cooking a meal from scratch for family and friends, to learning to play an instrument, or even creating a venture around one’s love for the arts. It’s never been easier to be creative in today’s digital/AI era, and the mental health benefits can be significant.

Contact us today to start your recovery

When you check in to our discreet central London rehabilitation facility, you’ll be embarking upon a personalised treatment programme tailored to your individual needs. We offer luxury private accommodation for the duration of your stay, with 24/7 access to a team of world-class experts headed by one of the UK’s leading psychiatrists.

Our multi-disciplinary team boasts a wealth of mental wellbeing knowledge and expertise in every aspect of your recovery. Dedicated psychiatrists, nutritionists, therapists, and addiction specialists will create a comprehensive process designed specifically for you. Our focus isn’t just on your mind; we understand the important roles that genetics, nutrition and lifestyle can play in the development of alcohol or drug dependency, and in the process of recovery.

Experts will assess the factors that led to your substance misuse or mental health condition, leverage the world’s most extensive menu of therapy services to help you recover, and create a robust aftercare programme to support re-integration into your family and lifestyle.

Our bespoke and private treatment takes place in an intimate, one-to-one setting – no groups, no other patients. At Addcounsel’s luxury rehab and mental health clinic in the UK, your comfort, safety, and privacy are our priority. We can treat a whole range of conditions, including depression, bipolar disorder, gaming addiction, porn addiction, and substance abuse addiction. Contact us today to start your recovery journey.


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