Stress is a normal part of life, and in the correct context, it is a healthy response to a variety of different situations. The body’s stress response can help you deal with difficult or dangerous circumstances.

While stress in the appropriate context is normal and healthy, many people experience chronic stress or the effects of stress in situations where it is unneeded and unhealthy. For people who are having trouble managing stress, it can be detrimental to your physical and mental health.

With April being Stress Awareness Month, it is a good time to consider the stress in our lives and the things we can do to manage and relieve stress.

The Effects of Stress

It is important to recognize the fact that stress manifests itself differently for different people. Furthermore, different people respond to stress in different ways, and what may be a trigger or stressor for one person may not be for another.

The most obvious side effects of stress are those that affect a person’s mood. This can include things like irritability, quickness to anger, anxiety, restlessness, depressions and panic. These mood changes can also give rise to a variety of behavioral changes. It can impact your sleep, lead to substance abuse and lead a person to isolate oneself from others.

Beyond the emotional impact of stress, it can also have a significant impact on a person’s health. People who are under extreme or prolonged stress may experience fatigue, upset stomach, muscle tension, headaches, chest pain and indigestion.

Tips to Manage Stress

If you are experiencing stress that is extreme or prolonged, you should do what you can to address the problem. The following are a few tips to help people who are dealing with stress:

  1. Get More Physical Activity

Regular exercise is good for both your mind and your body, and it has been shown to be beneficial for those who are dealing with stress.   Exercise can make a significant impact to relieve stress- you could even take a short walk during a break at work to help clear your mind and refresh yourself.

  1. Step Away from the Stressor

One of the main problems for dealing with stress is that it can be difficult to get away from certain stressors. Whether it’s something at work, family troubles or an argument, it’s important to get a break from the stressor!

  1. Try Relaxation Techniques

Learning relaxation techniques can be one of the best ways to manage stress when it feels overwhelming. These techniques counter the stress response by helping the body manage your heart rate, blood pressure and the flow of stress hormones. Try things like meditation, controlled breathing and guided imagery to manage stress.

  1. Be Socially Active

Many people respond to stress by withdrawing from social activity, yet social interaction is a great way to relieve stress and it can also be a valuable form of support.

April is Stress Awareness Month which makes it the perfect time to learn more about stress-related issues and stress prevention techniques.  Along with raising awareness, it is also a good time to consider your stressors and start doing something about it!