Stress Less During Stress Awareness Month

Sponsoring Organization: Amerihealth

It may seem like stress is no big deal—it’s something we all experience every day. But did you know that about 90% of visits to primary care physicians are related to stress disorders? What’s more, workplace stress costs American businesses nearly $150 billion dollars annually! Stress is a bigger issue than you might think, so April is official Stress Awareness Month. Founded in 1992 with the goal of increasing public knowledge and providing solutions to the problem of stress, it’s more important than ever to take advantage of this opportunity to de-stress a little.

Americans are some of the most stressed people in the world. And we’re starting to see how stress can have a real impact on our health, mental/emotional well-being, and even our jobs. But what’s the best way to avoid stress? We first have to understand the signs of stress. Recognizing where stress is creeping into your life is a good first step to combatting its negative effects.

Start by asking yourself, “Do I have one or more of these symptoms?”: depression or anxiety, anger or irritability, increase in or loss of appetite, insomnia or sleeping too much, issues with memory or concentration, and constant worrying or racing thoughts. If you regularly feel any or all of these symptoms, you may be suffering from stress. And if you believe stress only affects your thoughts and emotions, consider that the mind and physical body are closely linked (that’s why so many stressed out people end up at the doctor’s office with physical problems). If you are experiencing any of the warning signs, it’s important to nip stress in the bud. 

Try one of these stress reducing methods: exercise, aromatherapy (smelling lavender is particularly linked to lower stress levels), reducing your caffeine and alcohol consumption, listening to soothing music, yoga, journaling, and spending more time with friends and family. If you feel that stress is taking over your life, there are professional resources available. For example, talk therapy (speaking with a trained psychologist/therapist) has been shown to have amazing stress reducing properties, even without medication. 

Technology, meanwhile, has helped provide additional tools that were unavailable to previous generations. Meditation has proven stress-reducing benefits, and apps such as Headspace or Calm offer everything from five-minute meditations, to hours of content to help you fall asleep. 

Sometimes the hardest part of stress is admitting that you are, in fact, stressed. But now that you’ve seen the symptoms and read through a variety of solutions, you know stress is a normal phenomenon that many—if not most—of us go through. It is empowering to know that there are resources available no matter the severity of your stress levels, and that you are very much not alone. 

This Stress Awareness Month, share your stress-reducing tips and tricks with friends and family, and give yourself the gift of a less stressful life!

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