April is Stress Awareness Month

by Howard Gerber on April 7, 2011

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Stress is a part of everyday life. Most people find that stress levels rise and fall as various work and interpersonal issues develop and are resolved. Because it is ever present in our lives, some people do not fully appreciate the negative impact stress can have on their health, their relationships, and their overall quality of life. April is Stress Awareness Month and it is the perfect time to become more aware of the signs that you are under excessive stress, the impact it can have on your health, and the ways you can relieve stress naturally.

There are several types of stress, not all of which are bad. Eustress is the type of stress you experience when you are doing something fun or exciting such as playing sports. Acute stress is short term and can be brought on by something beneficial such as planning a wedding or something upsetting such as a fight with a spouse. Chronic stress often seems to be unavoidable such as a high pressure job or caring for someone with a chronic illness.

Symptoms of Stress

Stress can affect your body, mood, and behavior. Symptoms of stress include:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Apathy
  • Chest pain
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Heightened temper
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Muscle pain
  • Muscle tension
  • Overeating
  • Restlessness
  • Under eating
  • Withdrawal

Health Effects of Stress

Stress can is a contributing factor in the development of some health problems and can exacerbate others. Examples include:

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Depression
  • Digestive problems
  • Eczema
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity

How to Relieve Stress

There are several things you can do to reduce your stress naturally, use a combination of quick acting and long term habits to develop a strong stress management regime.

  • Meditate
  • Yoga
  • Spend time with friends
  • Journal each day
  • Get enough sleep
  • Speak with a therapist
  • Exercise regularly
  • Create a social network online
  • Make time for a hobby you enjoy
  • Listen to music

There are some situations that will be very stressful and the only thing you can do is attempt to mitigate the affect it has on your life. By recognizing what is causing your stress you can face it directly and look for ways to limit it. If you learn to utilize stress relief measures, it will make dealing with future stresses much easier.

What are your favorite ways to relieve stress? Do you have something you do each day or do you only think about stress when it reaches a critical level?

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