April is Stress Awareness Month, and if you’re like millions of other Americans, you’re stressed at some point in your day.
Stress does not merely afflict your mind; it can also affect you on a cellular level. Long-term stress can even lead to headaches to stomach disorders to depression, and can even increase the risk of serious conditions like stroke and heart disease. Understanding the mind/stress/health connection can help you better manage stress and improve your health and well-being.
Those who suffer from chronic stress need to change their approach if they can’t change the situations stressing them out, according to the government, by:
- Recognize when you don’t have control, and let it go.
- Don’t get anxious about situations that you cannot change.
- Take control of your own reactions, and focus on what makes you feel calm and in control. This may take some practice, but it pays off in peace of mind.
- Develop a vision for healthy living, wellness, and personal- professional growth.
- Set realistic goals to help you realize your vision.
Of course, taking a few minutes each day to recharge can also help you relax – and exercise is a tried and true stress reliever. Looking for another beneficial way to relax that will recharge your mind and body? Here are some tips from some of genConnect’s best experts:
1) Click here for some tips from the experts at Chicken Soup for the Soul, which include: using your positive thinking, say “no.”
if you are taking on too much, don’t strive for perfection, carve that to-do list into tiny pieces, and take care of yourself every day. How Well Do You Take Care of Yourself? (QUIZ)
2) Author of The Happiness Project and columnist for Good Housekeeping, Gretchen Rubin says to have strong connections with other people to raise your happiness level, get enough sleep, and take the time to notice the scents of pleasurable things like fresh laundry. Watch more of Gretchen’s tips here.
3) To ward off work stress, disconnect from work and re-connect with yourself! Here are 7 ways how…
4) Try meditation: Russell Simmons, Ringo Starr, Russell Brand and even Sheryl Crow do it; Dr. Alan Tepp prescribes meditation as a way to obtain a state of mind “wherein someone can go about their daily activities in a mindfully mediated state.” Forms of meditation include: Transcendental Meditation, Mindfulness Meditation, Zen Meditation, Buddhist Meditation, and Taoist Meditation.
5) Employ some of these 7 strategies to overcome your anxiety, from Dr. Judith Orloff, including eliminating caffeine, which fuels the “fight or flight” response, avoiding people who fuel your fears or stress, and stay in “the now.”
The American Psychological Association’s Stress in America survey, released in January, found that 22 percent of Americans consistently report high levels of stress. While reported average stress levels have dipped slightly since 2010, many Americans continue to report that their stress has actually increased over time (39 percent report their stress has increased over the past year and 44 percent say their stress has increased over the past 5 years). Yet stress levels exceed people’s own definition of what is healthy.
“America has a choice. We can continue down a well-worn path where stress significantly impacts our physical and mental health, causes undue suffering and drives up health care costs. Or we can get serious about this major public health issue and provide better access to behavioral health care services to help people more effectively manage their stress and prevent and manage chronic disease,” says psychologist Norman B. Anderson, PhD, APA’s CEO and executive vice president. “Various studies have shown that chronic stress is a major driver of chronic illness, which in turn is a major driver of escalating health care costs in this country. It is critical that the entire health community and policymakers recognize the role of stress and unhealthy behaviors in causing and exacerbating chronic health conditions, and support models of care that help people make positive changes.”
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