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Stress Awareness Month


Since 1992, April has been recognized as Stress Awareness Month. Stress can be debilitating and it can cause and or aggravate health problems. The most common explanation of stress is a physical, mental or emotional strain or tension. It is a reaction to a situation

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where a person feels anxious or threatened. Learning healthy ways to cope and getting the proper care and support can help reduce stressful feelings and symptoms.

Did you know that stress not only afflicts your mind, but it can also affect you on a cel-


lular level. Long term stress can lead to a wide range of illnesses like headaches, back pains, stomach problems, even serious ones like stroke and heart disease. When a stressful situation arises, specific stress hormones rush into the bloodstream and glucose levels. This is helpful




in emergency situations but for extended periods of time it can be dangerous and make you susceptible to those issued mentioned. Common reactions to a stressful events include: disbe-lief, shock and numbness, feeling sad, frustrated and helpless, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, smoking or the use of alcohol and/or drugs.

Understanding the mind/stress health connection can help you better manage stress and improve your health and well being. There are three main types of stress that are recog-

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Acute Stress- is usually brief, the most common and frequent. It is often caused by reactive thinking; negative thoughts predominate situations or events that have recently occurred or

are upcoming.

Episodic Acute Stress- people who frequently experience acute stress, or whose lives present with frequent triggers of stress, have episodic acute stress. The individuals who frequently suf-

Chronic Stress- is the most harmful type. If chronic stress is left untreated over a long period of time, it can significantly damage your physical health and deteriorate your mental health.

Sometimes the stress in our lives is not something we have the power to change, in these cases you can try: recognizing when you don’t have control, and let it go; avoid getting

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ansious about situations that you cannot change; take control of your reactions and focus your laxing formula for sleep mind on something that makes you feel calm and in control; develop a vision for healthy liv- and rest. It helps to calm ing, wellness, and personal growth, and set realistic goals to help you realize your vision. De- the body. veloping healthy ways to cope with stress should be your priority. Some basic ideas to help

vou come with stress:

Take care of your self- eat healthy, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, give yourself a break if you feel stressed.

  • Share your problems and how you are feeling and coping with a family member, friend, doctor, pastor or counselor.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol. These can create additional problems and increase the stress


you are already feeling.

Recognize when you need more help. Know when to talk to a psychologist, social worker or counselor if things continue.

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.