"Don't stress the could haves, It if should have, It would have." -Unknown
Let's play a game… What's a six-letter word that all ages can experience, affect us physically and mentally, and be extremely difficult to manage?
Well, the answer is stress.
According to the Oxford Languages, stress means: "A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. Children, teens, adults, and our grandmothers and grandfathers all experience stress in one form or another. Children, for example, can experience stress due to significant life changes, academic pressures, and conflict between peers and family members. For adults, our jobs, families, environmental factors, and life's circumstances can all cause us to experience stress.
According to a poll by several Americans across the United States in March of this year, the three top causes of stress currently include financial concern, inflation, and the COVID 19 pandemic. Stress is important to manage due to multiple factors. Stress that isn't managed can affect our bodies physically and mentally.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, prolonged stress can have several adverse effects on physical health. The Cleveland Clinic reports that at least 41 percent of Americans have experienced heart-related issues due to extreme and prolonged stress since 2020. The American Psychological Association also reports that prolonged stress has also been linked to anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. The serious consequences placed upon our physical and mental health are evidence of why stress management is essential to include in our everyday routines.
Managing stress may seem impossible, but certain ways can be easily incorporated into our daily lives to assist with stress reduction and stress management.
Tips for Managing Stress
Take a Break: According to the US Travel Association in 2019, 768 million days of vacation were left used, equating to 55% of Americans not using all of their vacation time. According to Allina Health, taking a vacation has been proven to lower stress, reduce heart disease, improve gratification for life and increase motivation.
Self Care: Enjoy spending time with friends and family, practice good hygiene, healthy eating, and exercise are proven ways stress can improve. Exercises such as Yoga and Pilates are especially useful for increasing our "Happy Hormones," such as endorphins. Yoga and Pilates are also widely known for incorporating mindfulness into your exercise routine, which is useful for reducing stress.
Practice Mindfulness: According to the American Psychological Association, mindfulness has assisted with managing stress because of its ability to teach attention and acceptance. Paying attention to our bodies' sensations, thoughts and emotions can allow us to process and manage our feelings and emotions more positively. Acceptance is understanding and processing feelings and emotions without negative or judgment of your experiences which can significantly impact stress levels.
Be Aware of your Triggers: Knowing what causes your stress can help avoid triggers for anxiety and stressful situations.
Seek Counseling: Therapy can always be helpful for stress management.
All in all, stress management is important for overall health and wellness.
Stress can be overwhelming, but it is manageable.
Use 2022 to conquer managing stress.
You got this!