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Stress Awareness Month

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by Marisa Seager

Since 1992, the month of April has been recognized as Stress Awareness Month. However, we all know that stress doesn’t only occur one month out of the year, so let’s take this nationally recognized month and use it to arm ourselves with strategies and knowledge about stress. 

Because we all experience stress in different ways, there is no single definition for the term stress. However, the most common explanation is that stress is a physical, mental, or emotional strain. By learning about the healthy ways to cope, get proper care, and support, we can help reduce the feelings and symptoms of stress. 

Whenever you are in a stressful situation, there are certain hormones that rush into your bloodstream. This is what causes increased heart rate, blood pressure, and glucose levels. While sometimes those symptoms aren’t always bad, they can be dangerous if experienced for long periods of time, creating long-term stress. This can result in much more than a mental health issue, but also headaches, stomach disorders, and depression. The more extreme cases could cause serious issues like stroke and heart disease. It’s crazy to think that all of this comes from stress, right?

While we don’t always have the power to change or remove the stressors in our lives, we can try to work through them better. One of the best things to do is recognize that sometimes you don’t have control, so it’s better just let it go. There’s really no point in getting anxious about the situations you can’t change. 

Now when it comes to coping with stress, there are some fairly basic ways to go about it. First, take care of yourself. This means anything and everything from eating healthy, getting the proper amount of sleep, exercising regularly, and giving yourself breaks as needed. Second, share your problems with someone you know like a friend, family member, counselor, or doctor. Telling someone how you are feeling can help with release of stress and potentially help you work through it as well. Third, avoid substances that can create additional problems and increase what you are already feeling. 

At the end of the day, it’s most important to recognize stress, when you need more help, and knowing how to talk about your stress. All of these can help you work through your stress and that of others if anyone is to come to you about theirs.