Stress facts

    1. 1
      A certain amount is stress is normal and can be useful
    2. 2
      Lots of people with epilepsy have problems with stress
    3. 3
      Being stressed can make seizures more likely
    4. 4
      Stress can cause physical problems which can be quite frightening
    5. 5
      The parts of the brain which regulate the stress response are also often involved in epilepsy
    6. 6
      Stress isn’t a mental health condition, but if stress goes on for too long it can result in other conditions such as anxiety or depression

    Recognising stress

    Here are some words and phrases that people use to describe how stress makes them feel.

    easily irritated, impatient, over-burdened, anxious, overwhelmed, wound up, can’t switch off, constantly worrying

    Stress can also affect people’s behaviour and cause physical symptoms.

    Top tips



    Be as active as possible


    Eat a balanced diet


    Learn some relaxation techniques


    Learn about mindfulness (more info below)


    Do things you enjoy


    Spend time with friends


    Share your feelings


    Ask for help


    Get a good night’s sleep


    Limit how much alcohol you drink


    Organise your time

    This might sound easier to do than it does in practice, but evidence shows these tips can really help.


    • Managing stress

      Here’s a BBC video about understanding stress and some tips to reduce it

    • The stress bucket explained

      A video about the idea of the stress bucket by Wellbeing Training

    Stories by you

    Do you have an experience about stress that you’d like to share? Get in touch

    Woman enjoying the outdoors

    Do something

    Watch the video above about the stress bucket.

    What things add stress to your bucket? What things release stress from your stress bucket?

    How can you make time to do things that release stress from your bucket?

    Relaxation exercises

    Some people find relaxation exercises helpful in managing stress. Here are some ideas:

    Ways to relieve stress on the NHS website

    NHS website

    Relaxation exercises on the Mind website

    Mind website

    NHS Inform has some video and audio relaxation exercises

    NHS Inform
    Mindfulness drawn into the sand


    One thing that has been shown to help reduce stress and improve mental wellbeing is mindfulness.

    Mindfulness is a practice that teaches us to connect with the world around us and ourselves.

    When you are practicing mindfulness, you pay attention to the present moment – what is happening with your thoughts, feelings and the world around you. It lets you slow down and take notice of these things.

    Mindfulness has been found to be effective in relieving a broad range of conditions, including stress and depression.

    Mindfulness may not be suitable for everyone. If in doubt, check with your doctor.


    What is Mindfulness? A short animation by Smiling Mind

    More info

    More info about stress on the Epilepsy Action website

    More about stress

    More about understanding stress on the NHS moodzone

    NHS Moodzone

    There are apps available to help with relaxation, managing stress and mindfulness. Search in your app store or look in the NHS apps library

    NHS apps library

    Mindfulness for mental wellbeing info on the NHS website

    NHS Mindfulness

    The Oxford Centre for Mindfulness has free courses, podcasts and online mindfulness sessions as well as paid courses

    Oxford Centre for Mindfulness
    Updated 12 May 2020
    Review 12 May 2023
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