Fight the Rigors of Stress

April is National Stress Awareness Month, which means it just may be time to look at your stress levels and what you can do to relieve some of the stress in your life.

There is no single description for stress, but it is mainly physical, mental or emotional strain or tension. Of course, not all stress is bad. A certain amount of stress is beneficial for people to feel creative and energetic.

When stress becomes overwhelming and prolonged, it’s time to try and relieve it. Long-term stress can damage your physical and mental health.

When stressed, an impulse is relayed to the brain sending signals to the glands and organs to secrete over 1,000 hormones into the bloodstream. Immediately your muscles tense, breath rate increases, heartbeat quickens, blood pressure rises and blood is shunted from the skin and organs to the muscles, disrupting the brain and the digestive system.

First, become aware of your thoughts when you’re stressed. Recognize what triggers your stress response and then plan a coping strategy.

For instance, if you have a long commute to work and get stressed in traffic, consider listening to audio books or music, even taking deep breaths. Get back in control and don’t allow situations to take away your power and peace of mind.

Meditation is one method that can have long-term positive effects. Research shows that meditation benefits the body and mind by lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, stress and anxiety levels, while increasing happiness, sleep, creativity and self-awareness.

So much daily stress is self-generated from worry, anger, fear, relationships, money and more. Once you recognize what it is, then it can be addressed.

Make time each day to relax, let go of stress and create balance, whether that’s a short 10-minute meditation or longer.