April is Stress Awareness Month and provides a very important reminder to us to pay attention to our health. It has been an ongoing campaign of awareness and education since 1992. Stress can be debilitating, and it can cause new or aggravate existing health problems…and nobody is immune to it. It is important that we arm ourselves with knowledge so that we can recognize when stress pops up. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “stress can motivate people to prepare or perform and might even be lifesaving in some situations.” However, people under stress, or prone to chronic stress, are more susceptible to a variety of ailments – from headaches and insomnia to high blood pressure and heart disease. A survey by the American Psychological Association found that the five factors that can cause stress were money, work, family, economic outlook, and relationships. It’s critical to recognize what stress and anxiety look like, take steps to build resilience, and know where to go for help. The Mental Health American (MHA) provides some tips on how to reduce your stress by utilizing a Stress Screener. Also, take some time to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and familiarize yourself with strategies for stress management.
How to help with stress:
*Do something creative – you use a different part of the brain when being creative
*Practice Meditation – one of the most effective ways to deal with stress is to learn how to silence the mind. Meditation is one of the most popular methods of achieving this type of quiet…and can be done anywhere and at any time.
*Exercise – This is another way to battle the debilitating effects of stress. Whether you jog, cycle, or just take long walks – be sure to get some fresh air and add exercise to your daily routine.
*Visit your doctor – To provide additional assistance to a stress-free lifestyle, your physician may be able to provide additional options specific to your needs