April is Stress Awareness Month. The purpose of Stress Awareness Month, observed since April 1992, is to raise awareness about stress, its impacts, and how to better manage or prevent it from protecting your physical and mental well-being. In honor of Stress Awareness Month, it's time to discuss some facts about stress, including common causes, recognizing stress in yourself, and what you can do about it.
The Truth About Stress
Although stress in small doses is to be expected - and is something, we're equipped to handle - the same is not true for stress that's ongoing or left unattended to, which can have serious consequences. The truth about stress is that it affects the entire body and can negatively impact your well-being. Ongoing stress is a risk factor for heart disease, dementia, stroke, accelerated aging, depression, anxiety, insulin resistance, prolonged digestive issues and disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or ulcers, and even early mortality. Stress can impact your outlook on life, interpersonal relationships, performance in the workplace, school, or other areas of life, and more.
Common Causes Of Stress
Considering that stress can be detrimental, you might wonder what's most apt to contribute to it. Here are some known common causes of stress in the United States in recent years:
Of course, these are only some things that can cause or contribute to higher stress levels. The good news is that strategies can be used to employ stress relief and help you protect your well-being from the potential consequences of stress both in the short and longterm.
How To Recognize Signs Of Stress
We talked about some of the long-term impacts of stress, but what signs might show up sooner? Understanding the signs of stress can help you recognize them to take action.
Take a moment to check in with yourself and see if you notice the signs of stress in yourself. If you aren't feeling like yourself, it doesn't hurt to reach out to someone and talk about what's on your mind. Alongside the other consequences of long-term stress, these signs may be ongoing if they aren't addressed. Once you acknowledge that what you're experiencing is stress, there are solutions you can employ to address it.
Powerful Solutions For Stress Relief
Thankfully, our research on stress doesn't focus on the unfavorable impacts alone. A large body of research has also revealed a range of solutions for stress relief. Here are some powerful, research-backed solutions for stress in honor of Stress Awareness Month:
Practicing the activities above and putting in the effort to manage stress in your life is an excellent way to celebrate Stress Awareness Month and support your health all year. Our needs are diverse in lifestyle, rest, and overall stress management, so know that it's okay if the best way to support your needs differs from someone else. If you find it challenging to manage your current stressors, need help adapting healthy coping skills, or if you and your life are otherwise affected by stress, don't hesitate to reach out to a medical or mental health professional who can aid you in finding powerful stress management techniques that work for you. Not only can it help you find relief and address stress in the present, but your future self will likely thank you!
Get Help For Stress Online
Online therapy makes getting the mental health support you need more convenient. Research studies prove that online therapy is as effective as in-person care for various concerns, like depression and anxiety. When you use an online therapy platform like BetterHelp, you can discuss stress or anything else on your mind from anywhere with a reliable internet connection.
BetterHelp has continued to improve, with over 20,000 independent therapists offering services through the platform. If you're ready to get started, sign up for online therapy, or read the therapist reviews and FAQs on the BetterHelp website.
No matter how you get help, you deserve to find relief from stress and live the happiest, healthiest version of your life. Look out for Mental Health Awareness Month coming in May!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Is The Purpose Of Stress Awareness Month?
The purpose of stress awareness month is to increase awareness of the impacts of stress and promote stress management. Since stress can have vast physical, social, psychological, and emotional consequences, and because it is a risk factor for many health concerns and conditions, it is vital to have healthy skills and tools to manage stress.
How Does Stress Impact The Body?
Stress can seriously impact the body, and it isn't something to take lightly. Impacts of stress on the body can include hair loss, difficulty sleeping or insomnia, headaches, body aches, G.I. distress, muscle tension, and higher blood pressure. It can also lead to a decrease in brain mass and a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, chronic pain, diagnosable G.I. disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and early mortality.
What Are 5 Ways To Relieve Stress?
Five ways to relieve stress include deep breathing, exercise, creative activities, getting it out (through journaling or talking to someone), and laughing. If stress is ongoing, make sure to reach out for help. Make an appointment with your doctor to talk about stress levels or open a discussion with a medical or mental health professional, like a therapist or psychiatrist.