April: National Stress Awareness Month

Did you know that April has been designated as National Stress Awareness Month? Most Americans feel stress in their everyday lives but do not pay much attention to its consequences. The impact plays havoc with our minds, bodies, relationships and overall health and well-being.

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Woman exhibiting signs of stress

Health care professionals across the country annually come together to increase public awareness about the symptoms, causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic. The Health Resource Network (HRN) sponsors this national, cooperative effort to inform people about the dangers of stress and the strategies for developing greater resilience.

Some symptoms of stress:

  • Anxiety
  • Knot in the throat
  • Stomach cramps
  • Headaches
  • Compulsive eating
  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Increased smoking or drinking
  • Social withdrawal

Stress is a guarantee in our lives. Your reaction to stress is what makes the difference between health and disease. Training your brain and body to react to disappointment, loss and frustration in a resilient way creates a more balanced and happier existence.

Resilience is the ability to self-nurture, self-soothe, self-regulate. For some this ability comes naturally. The rest of us need to cultivate the skill of resiliency.

Some of the most potent ways to manage stress more effectively include:

The resilient person learns how to tolerate difficult emotions and reframes situations in a positive perspective. For example, “Since I lost my job during a difficult economy, this is my opportunity to work for myself which has always been my dream.” Or “Getting divorced and splitting up my family tears me apart, but this is my opportunity to find a loving relationship and get more of my needs met.”

For less daunting situations, resilience means while stuck in traffic, rather than getting agitated, deciding to listen to music, listen to books on tape, or just go with the flow and take the time to breathe deeply. These are all choices you make throughout your daily existence.

I challenge you to raise your stress awareness and bring more balance, happiness and peace of mind into your world this month.

What will you choose to do this month to lower your stress?

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