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Tips for Getting Stress In Check

By Griffin Hospital on 3/31/2017

April is Stress Awareness Month, which means it’s a good time for us talk about this universal topic that effects many of us. Stress is a very complicated and personal matter. Everyone has their own triggers and ways of coping with it. It’s important for each one of us to not only recognize what triggers our stress, but more importantly, learn how we can manage and cope with it.

Your body responds to stressors differently depending on whether the stressor is short term (acute stress) or whether the stressor has been around for a longer time (chronic stress). A single episode of acute stress generally doesn't cause problems for healthy people. However, severe acute stress can cause physical difficulties, including tension headaches, stomach problems or serious health issues such as a heart attack. The chronic-stress response can be more subtle, but the effects may be longer lasting and more problematic.

Here are some tips on how you can help yourself manage chronic stress:

  • Recognize when you don't have control, and let it go.
  • Pay attention to how you react to stress. Think about how you might better react in the future and work toward changing future reactions.
  • Develop a vision for healthy living, wellness, and personal growth, and set realistic goals to help you realize your vision.

While you can't avoid stress, you can minimize it by changing how you choose to respond to it. Here are some ideas:

  • Take a time out: Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, or get a massage!
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine: Both alcohol and caffeine can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
  • Take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly.
  • Slowly count to 10. Repeat and even count to 20.Visualize the numbers and focus your mind.
  • Have a cup of tea. Try a hot cup of soothing herbal tea to calm and soothe you.
  • Talk to someone. Sometimes you feel better by just talking about what is overwhelming you.
  • Exercise. Go for a walk or run to clear your mind and feel good.

Remember, stress can take a while to build up, and can emerge when you least expect it, so managing it is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. The ultimate reward for your efforts is a healthy, balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation, and fun.

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