Cedar Hill, TX - April is Stress Awareness Month! Visit the Choose Healthy Cedar Hill page below to learn a few tips on how to better manage your stress.
This Thursday at 6 pm, Dr. Jill Waggoner, author of “Stress Success,” will be at the Alan E. Sims Cedar Hill Recreation Center. She will share her perspective on how to live a stress free life. Hope to see you there!
Stress is a natural feeling that is created in the mind, and is the way the body responds to a particular threat. Stress triggers physiological, emotional and chemical reactions in the body through a complex signaling pathway between neurons and body cells. Stress alters the neurochemical composition of the body. The hypothalamic, pituitary, adrenal (HPA) axis is a part of the central nervous system that also has endocrine functions and plays a major role in stress response system. It controls the secretion of hormones like epinephrine and cortisol, which help the person to cope with the stress.
Body systems like cardiovascular system, immune system, respiratory system, digestive system, sensory organs and brain witness changes in the presence of these hormones in order to ‘fight or flight’ the perceived threat. Events that stimulate stress are called stressors. Stressors can be environment conditions, biological or chemical agents, stress causing events, work place problems, changes in life, etc.
There are two types of stress - Eustress and Distress. Eustress is short-term, exciting and is motivational. Distress is considered being beyond the coping capabilities and causes anxiety, concern, reduced performance and can last for a short or a long period of time.
Up to a certain point, stress isn’t bad, as it is just the body’s normal mechanism to stand up to the challenges, and helps in keeping motivation and morale high. But, beyond a point, it negatively impacts the quality of life.
Stress is usually not something we have to be reminded about. We know it is there. However, taking a step back and acknowledging the stress (or its impact) is a healthy habit to form. With this knowledge, we can figure out ways to reduce the effects. But knowing where to look for helpful resources can be stressful itself
So what can we do? While we cannot avoid stress altogether, we can take measures to reduce the impact it has and prepare ourselves to deal with the stress at hand. Take five and consider these “tips to tame stress” and improve quality of life.
1. Just Breath
Sounds simple enough, but it is surprising how often we are constricting our oxygen intake with shallow breathing. When you feel stress creep in or begin to feel overwhelmed, step away for a moment and take a few big, slow, deep breaths. Your body and mind will thank you.
2. Get Moving
Yep, by just moving you are relieving stress, and regular exercise will help your body in more ways than one. With physical activity you increase your feel-good endorphins and these enhance your overall sense of well-being. By getting up and moving, you increase mental focus and you are giving yourself permission to let that stress go while you exercise.
3. Laughter is Good Medicine
Humor can help melt away stress and bring a positive vibe to your day. Laughter actually helps to cool down your stress response. So read some jokes (endless supply online), go to a comedy club, or watch a funny movie with friends.
4. Get Connected
You may typically be a social butterfly, but stress can make the most friendly person want to wrap themselves up in a cocoon. If you feel like this is your reaction to stress, take a moment to give a friend a call or schedule a time to meet with someone you can talk to. Often if we just get out and escape the stress for a bit, we can come back to it and be in a better state-of-mind to deal with it.
5. Assert Yourself
The word “no” can be one of the most powerful words. When you say yes, it may seem like the best solution to prevent conflict or get the job done right. But the internal conflict this may cause can lead to additional stress, as well as anger and resentment. Before you give an answer to a request for your time, make sure you give yourself time to consider how the commitment will impact you.
So in honor of Stress Awareness Month, take some time out to get more informed and become better aware of how stress is impacting you. We hope these suggestions can be of help as you figure out ways to reduce stress in your life.