It’s National Stress Awareness Month – How Do You Deal?

Although this is the last week of the month, April is recognized as National Stress Awareness Month. Stress is a leading factor to many health issues, along with emotional ones. Stress take its toll on both the mind and body and can have long-lasting effects if not dealt with.

First off, stress is not always bad as the name implies. Stress can actually be a catalyst which can propel one forward; it can identify a situation that has not been dealt with and be a challenge to overcome. Challenge stressors, such as those from the work load, are pressures from time, too much work, or needing to perform at a higher level; hindrance stressors result from being kept from reaching a goal, such as policies or procedures, systems, financial constraints, or office politics. (Robbins and Judge, 2016). It is when these overloads appear too much for one to handle that they overload one’s ability to deal with them. That is when stress leads to problems.

How one copes and deals can predict how effectively they handle stress – or how much. There are individuals who are able to handle a lot, but have good outlets to let their stress out, or they are willing to face the stressor; then, there are individuals who are willing to deal with a situation but hold their feelings in, eventually letting them out in some way; and then there are individuals who hold all of their feelings in for whatever reason (i.e. don’t like conflict, feel they need to be strong, etc.). The last two types will have problems, especially the last one who never deals with their feelings.

The key to effectively dealing with stress is to first be aware of the cause: another person, a situation we are faced with brought on by others, a situation we are faced with which we took on, either voluntarily or because we ‘have to, or from outside forces beyond our means. Once we are aware of the source of stress, it is important to slow down and analyze both the issue and possible solutions; slowing down can be challenging as the stress chemicals tend to ramp us up. Also, recognizing how you do, or do not deal, with stress and then having good outlets or ways to deal with life’s challenges will keep you healthy and happy.

Here are some ways to deal with stress you may have in your life; the more you use them, the easier and habit-forming they become so that any other stressors will not feel as terrifying as we think they are:

  • deep breathing (4-7-8 Rule)
  • progressive muscle relaxation
  • journaling
  • coloring
  • mindfulness (5 things I can see, 4 things I can feel, 3 things I can hear, 2 things I can smell, 1 thing I am safe with
  • gardening
  • physical exercise, i.e. walking, running, playing a sport, Zumba
  • dancing
  • meditation
  • practicing gratitude

These are just a few suggestions but can give you an idea of ways you can get calmer, refocused, and be more in control of your life and what happens within. Awareness is the key, so start paying attention to your physical symptoms, such as stomach problems (even butterflies in the stomach), headaches, back or other pain, restlessness, irritability, crying for no reason, or fatigue (to name a few) as this is the time to use one, or more, of these outlets to get calmer, which will then allow you to determine the best way to resolve the situation. The more you practice, the less stressed you will be, resulting in a happier life.

If you would like help in identifying your stressors and how to effectively deal with them, contact us today to get started:


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