Stress Awareness Month April 2022
Posted on: March 23, 2022
Although you are well aware of stress and some of the negative effects, you may not realize just how great the impact can be. At times, it is definitely easier to avoid stress than to take a closer look and increase our awareness on the subject. However, taking a look at what stress is, what impact it has on your health, what we can do to lower stress levels is a proactive step in a healthy direction. April is dedicated to Stress Awareness for this very reason.
What is Stress?Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional strain caused by adverse circumstances. Many adults, and children even, experience symptoms of stress to varying degrees every day in the United States. So, what happens exactly when we feel stress? Your nervous system instructs your body to release stress hormones including cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. These hormones produce physiological changes to help you cope with a threat or perceived danger. It’s called the ‘stress response’ and is commonly known as “fight or flight”.
The body's stress response can be positive when it is necessary, it assists you with staying focused, motivated and alert for the task ahead of you. However, when you experience stress factors for too long or too often and the body’s ability to cope is overwhelmed, things take a turn towards the negative.
Excessive and prolonged stress is linked to a variety of diseases and negative effects, a few of the most common include panic attacks, anxiety, colds and viruses, circulatory issues, diabetes and heart problems.
Stress Management TipsStress management is so important, if you can’t remove the stressor completely you can take steps to manage the impact of these stressful situations/experiences. It is an empowering process to learn to identify what causes stress and ways for you to take care of you. Stress management tools include:
- Practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing, yoga, deep breathing, massage, and exercise
- Eating a balanced diet - Under stress we may crave fatty or sugary foods, these types of foods can be harmful, and eventually cause more stress due to weight gain and negative health consequences.
- Getting adequate sleep - Stress can lead to insomnia, waking more frequently during the night and eventually you can start to experience symptoms of sleep deprivation. Inadequate sleep leads to deteriorating health and can cause issues coping with stress even more.
- Setting time aside for hobbies – Taking the time to do things you enjoy, hobbies and the like, are a great stress reliever! it’s important to have things outside of work and family duties that help you feel a sense of accomplishment.