Stress Awareness Month

by Jessica Wahaus on April 11, 2016

April is Stress Awareness Month, and we have all experienced stress in some form or another. Stress takes a toll on our minds, our bodies and even our relationships with others. This month, we’re reminded of the importance of managing stress to lead healthier, more fulfilling lives.

Signs of stress

Your mind and body are connected, so it is important to keep both healthy to help reduce your risk of developing medical issues. Long-term stress can increase your risk of serious conditions, including stroke and heart disease. What are some of the signals that can alert you to stress?

​Physical Signs Behavioral Signs​ ​Emotional Signs
High blood pressure Insomnia ​Depression
​Muscle tension ​Appetite changes ​​Irritability
​Teeth grinding ​Unexplained crying ​Anxiety
​Sweating ​Overuse of alcohol or drugs ​Impatience
​Headaches ​Forgetfulness ​Loss of pleasure
​Increase in colds/flu ​Strained relationships ​Lack of feelings/emotion
​Upset stomach ​Withdrawal ​Apathy

 

What’s stressing you out?

Knowing what is causing your stress can help you take steps to control it. To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitude and excuses:

  • Do you explain away stress as temporary (“I just have a million things going on right now”), even though you can’t remember the last time you took a breather?
  • Do you define stress as an integral part of your work or home life (“Things are always crazy around here”) or as a part of your personality (“I have a lot of nervous energy, that’s all”)?
  • Do you blame your stress on other people or outside events, or view it as entirely normal and unexceptional?

Once you’ve identified the source of stress in your life, the next step is learning how to manage it.

Managing your stress

Everyone feels and responds differently to stress but if you feel like the stress in your life is out of control, consider taking action. You have control over your thoughts, emotions and the way you deal with challenges. Meditation and exercise are common ways to manage stress but there is no “one size fits all” solution. Make time for yourself each day to do an activity that helps you find a sense of calm and control. With focus and dedication, your mind will retrain itself to react to stress in a healthier way.

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