Helpful Insights Into Stress Awareness

Apr 18, 2024 | Education | 0 comments

Stress happens. Feeling stressed occasionally is a normal part of life and happens to everyone. However, long-term stress can be harmful to your health and could put you at a higher risk of developing serious health concerns. 

This National Stress Awareness Month, East Adams Rural Healthcare wants to help you learn more about stress and how to manage it effectively. 

What Is Stress? 

Stress is the body’s reaction to feeling pressured or threatened. Many things can trigger stress, such as work deadlines, financial problems, illnesses, or major life events. When stressed, our body goes into “fight or flight” mode, releasing hormones like adrenaline. This response can be helpful in the short term, as there is evidence it can boost our immune system response, make us more alert, and help us make split-second decisions. 

However, stress that lasts for long periods of time, also known as chronic stress, can harm our health.

What Are Signs of Stress?

Stress can affect our mood, behaviors, and even our physical well-being. Signs of stress can include: 

  • Feeling irritable, depressed, or lacking motivation to do things you used to enjoy
  • Muscle tension, particularly headaches or pain in the neck and shoulders
  • Stomach or digestive issues like constipation, diarrhea, or nausea
  • Constantly feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or burned out
  • Having difficulty concentrating or memory problems
  • Sleeping either too little or more than usual
  • Frequent illnesses or infections 

How Does Stress Impact Your Health?

While short-term stress can help us rise to a challenge or motivate us to perform our best, chronic stress becomes a burden on our bodies and minds. Getting stuck in “fight or flight” mode wears your body out. It can weaken your immune system and leave you more vulnerable to viruses and other illnesses. 

It also takes a toll on your heart health, raising blood pressure and increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke. Research shows that stress might even contribute to the development of diabetes and autoimmune disorders. Chronic stress can also have a significant impact on your mental health, triggering anxiety and depression.  

Helpful Ways to Manage Stress

Most of us feel stressed at one time or another, but stress doesn’t have to take over our lives. By developing good coping mechanisms, we can manage our stress and keep it at a healthy level. Here are five stress-busting strategies to try. 

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of staying in the present moment. Instead of worrying about the past or getting anxious about the future, you focus on what’s happening here and now. Many free apps can help you practice mindfulness. Activities like yoga, meditation, or even adult coloring books may also be useful for practicing mindfulness techniques. 

Get Physical 

Physical activity is a great way to help your body release stress. Exercise releases endorphins, which are your body’s natural mood boosters. They can reduce feelings of stress and boost your overall sense of well-being. 

You don’t have to run a marathon to get their benefits, either. Find physical activities you enjoy, like walking, dancing, or participating in a sport. 

Prioritize Rest

Stress can disrupt your sleep schedule, but a lack of sleep makes the symptoms of stress even worse. Try to make rest and sleep a priority. Establish a healthy bedtime routine (including no electronics for an hour before bed), follow a consistent schedule, and ensure your bedroom is comfortable and dark. 

Connect With Loved Ones

Meaningful relationships with friends and family can be a great way to manage stress. Loved ones can support you, provide comfort, and lend a listening ear when you need to vent. Joining a social club or volunteering in the community are great ways to make new connections and distract yourself from the situations causing your stress. 

Ask for Help

If you are having trouble managing your stress on your own, reach out to a doctor or mental health professional for additional support. They can recommend more tools and strategies for dealing with stress and minimizing its effect on your life and your health.

EARH Is Here to Help 

Stress may be a natural part of life, but it shouldn’t control your life. Knowing what signs to watch for and how to effectively manage your stress levels can prevent stress from taking its toll on your health. 

East Adams Rural Healthcare is here to support you, too. We offer resources to help you manage stress levels, including consultations with a primary care physician or appointments at our convenient mobile clinic
Don’t face stress alone. Contact our team today to learn more about how we can help.