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Every year, physicians and health associations nationwide recognize National Stress Awareness Month throughout April, educating masses on the multitude of ways stress can appear in our daily lives, and more importantly, the often threatening impact that stress brings to our mental and physical health.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), stress is the physical or mental response our bodies give to an external cause, whether it be having a large load of work ahead of us, or as serious as facing an illness. A variety of stress-induced circumstances can create a slew of issues that later manifest themselves within the body, making it imperative to identify triggering points that contribute to stressful experiences.
“Learning what causes or triggers your stress and what coping techniques work for you can help reduce your anxiety and improve your daily life. It may take trial and error to discover what works best for you,” according to the NIMH report.
Anxiety is oftentimes in close correlation with stress levels, as the bodily reaction is a byproduct of physical or mental stress experienced over either a short, or long period of time, and is the internal distress that involves apprehensive feelings that remain with us on a consistent basis.
Key Ways to Combat Stress
Keeping a written diary of your daily thoughts, feelings, and experiences helps to improve your mood as it encourages prioritization over our fears, problems, and concerns. It also allows us to track our day-to-day symptoms which can ultimately help to identify triggers, and useful methods that can better control them.
Take Care of Your Physical and Mental Health:
Daily exercise along with healthy, balanced meals and proper sleep will help your body release stress and heal the issues that may be causing mental and emotional imbalances.
Identify and Challenge Unhelpful or Negative Thoughts:
It is helpful to be mindful of your thoughts, take control of your reactions and responses to unpleasant experiences, and refocus your mind on the things that bring you peace and a sense of control over yourself.
Connect with Genuine Friends and Family or a Therapist:
Your community can be the very thing that helps bring you back to balance when everything seems out of order. It is important to know when to talk to family members, close friends you can trust, or a clinically trained mental health professional who can help quell your worries through self awareness and other workable methods.
Avoid Drugs and Alcohol:
It is best to stay in your most natural, sober state of mind when warding off stress, as consuming drugs or alcohol can create additional issues that will incite greater levels of stress than you may already feel.