Stress Awareness Month

Take a deep breath. Relax your shoulders. Unclench your jaw. Stop slouching.

We all experience stress from time to time, and it can have a damaging effect on our lives. Reactions to a stressor can include difficulty with decision making, feelings of frustration or helplessness, anxiety, or loss of energy. Beyond the effect stress causes on our minds, stress can have a negative impact on our bodies as well. Stress can cause you to feel fatigued or give you sleep problems. Stress can also physically manifest in the form of chest or stomach pain, muscle tension, headaches, and changes to your sex drive. Memory problems, high blood pressure, and weakened immune systems can also be caused by an overwhelming amount of stress.

The effect that stress has on your mood and on your body can also cause changes in behavior, often in a way that merely exacerbates the issue. People who are more stressed are likely to abuse or misuse substances such as drugs or alcohol. Oftentimes stress leads to social withdrawal, angry outbursts, and problems with maintaining healthy relationships.

Unfortunately, we cannot always live a life without stressors. Instead, it is important to take steps that will help mitigate stress levels in the long run. Healthy lifestyle practices can include exercise, getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and making time for hobbies. However, these are all things that take some time and effort to include in your daily life.

Here are 10 simple stress reducers that you can do right now:
1. Clean your workspace
2. Take a short walk
3. Make a to-do list with small, manageable tasks
4. Journal your feelings
5. Cuddle with a pet
6. Download a meditation app
7. Play with a fidget or squeeze a stress ball
8. Stretch
9. Listen to music you love
10. Call a friend

For more tips on stress awareness, check out our Pinterest board here: https://www.pinterest.com/bellunivlibrary/stress-awareness-month/

Resources:
American Psychological Association. (2018, November 1). Stress effects on the body. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/topics/stress/body.

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2019, April 4). How stress affects your body and behavior. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987.

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