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April is National Stress Awareness Month

Stress awareness month has been held every April since 1992 and was created to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic.

So, what exactly is STRESS?

Stress is your body's way of responding to any kind of demand. It can be caused by both good and bad experiences. When people feel stressed by something going on around them, their bodies react by releasing chemicals into the blood.

These chemicals give people more energy and strength, which can be a good thing if their stress is caused by physical danger. HOWEVER, stress can be a bad thing, if it’s a response to something emotional and there is no outlet for this extra energy and strength.

Stress can affect both your body and your mind. People under large amounts of stress can become tired, sick, and unable to concentrate or think clearly.

Taking practical steps to manage your stress can reduce or prevent these effects. Here are a few tips that may help you learn to better cope with stress:

  • Recognize the Signs: This can include difficulty sleeping, increased substance use, easily angered, depression and having low energy.

  • Talk to Your Doctor or Health Care Provider: Get proper health care for existing or new health problems.

  • Regular Exercise: Just 30 minutes per day of walking can help boost your mood and reduce stress.

  • Try a Relaxing Activity: Explore stress coping programs, which may incorporate meditation, yoga or other gentle exercises.

  • Set Goals and Priorities: Decide what must get done and what can wait.

  • Stay Connected: Surround yourself with people who can provide emotional and other support.

You should seek help right away with a healthcare provider if you have suicidal thoughts, are overwhelmed, feel you cannot cope, or are using drugs or alcohol to cope.

Remember: Stress affects everyone! Learning how to manage your stress can help reduce or prevent physical and mental health risks.

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