Stress Awareness Month - April 29, 2024

Stress According to the National Institutes of Health: 

"April is recognized as National Stress Awareness Month to bring attention to the negative impact of stress. Managing stress is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Knowing how to manage stress can improve mental and physical well-being as well as minimize exacerbation of health-related issues.”

We all have stress in our lives to some extent, and that’s to be expected. Most of the time after a stressful event, our stress levels go back to where they were originally and we feel calm again.

Symptoms of Stress

Stress affects us in all parts of our life and shows up in various ways. My symptoms of stress might not be the same as yours, so it might be difficult to pinpoint the feeling you’re experiencing as stress and take action to change it. 

WebMD has a list of various emotional, physical, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms of stress that you might be experiencing that include:

Emotional symptoms of stress include:  

  • Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody 
  • Feeling overwhelmed, as if you are losing control or need to take control 
  • Having a hard time relaxing and quieting your mind 
  • Feeling bad about yourself (low self-esteem), and feeling lonely, worthless, and depressed 
  • Avoiding others 

Physical symptoms of stress include:  

  • Low energy Headaches Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation, and nausea 
  • Aches, pains, and tense muscles 
  • Chest pain and rapid heartbeat 
  • Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ears, and cold or sweaty hands and feet
  • Clenched jaw and grinding teeth 

Cognitive symptoms of stress include:  

  • Constant worrying 
  • Racing thoughts 
  • Forgetfulness and disorganization 
  • Inability to focus 
  • Poor judgment 
  • Being pessimistic or seeing only the negative side 

Behavioral symptoms of stress include:  

  • Changes in appetite -- either not eating or eating too much 
  • Procrastinating and avoiding responsibilities 
  • Having more nervous behaviors, such as nail biting, fidgeting, and pacing

Managing Stress

Obviously, we don’t want our stress to become chronic and have negative effects on our overall health. So, it’s important that we recognize and acknowledge the feelings we experience due to stress. Since the symptoms of stress vary, so do the steps to manage it.  

Some ways to manage stress include taking time for yourself and recognizing the signs of stress, as well as staying connected to friends. 

Try This

If you are unsure what is causing you stress, you might want to try reviewing your routine and setting boundaries around the important things, including your self-care.

Try this exercise on setting healthy boundaries as a start to managing stress: Healthy Boundaries

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