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Stress Awareness

Stress Awareness - The Keys to a Happier and More Productive Life

In today’s fast-paced world, stress is an integral part of our lives. From work pressures to school responsibilities, we all experience stress in one form or another. While some stress can be motivating and beneficial (Eustress), chronic and unmanaged stress (Distress) can have detrimental effects on our physical and mental well-being. By raising awareness, we can better know and understand the cause of stress and the importance of managing it to lead to a healthier and happier life.

Stress is a natural response to various situations and challenges in our lives. When we perceive a threat or demand, our body’s “fight or flight” response kicks in, releasing stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. The response can be beneficial in short bursts, helping us to respond to emergencies and respond under pressure. When stress becomes chronic and prolonged, it can wreak havoc on our health. Cortisol development in the brain of school-aged children from a stressful environment can impair their learning.

The causes of stress vary by event and the individual. There are a wide variety of factors both internal and external. Some examples are below.

  1. Work-related stress: This type includes tight deadlines, excessive workload, conflicts with colleagues, and job insecurity.

  2. Financial Stress: Managing bills, debts, and financial insecurity can be a significant stressor for people.

  3. Relationship stress: Issues in personal relationships including conflicts with a partner, friends, and family members can lead to emotional stress.

  4. Health-related Stress: Dealing with chronic illness for yourself or someone close to you can be highly stressful. Included in this are deaths of loved ones or sudden health crises.

  5. Environmental Stress: Natural disasters, local pollution, and climate change can add stress to our lives.

What happens when we do not manage our stress well or make an effort to seek help? The unmanaged stress will usually linger for long periods until the stressor is removed. Environmental stress may quickly dissipate while some other stressors may linger for months or years.  Adverse effects of stress include physical health problems, mental health issues, poor decision-making (which can lead to added stress) poor sleep, and relationship strain. Many of these stressors compound the effects when more than one is present. It is quite common for people to have more than one of these significant stressors in their lives.

Stress awareness is often the first step toward managing it effectively. Having an awareness of stress can empower individuals to take control of their lives and make positive changes to reduce their stress. Identification and awareness of our stress is only half the battle. Why we are stressed and how to move ahead from that stress takes some skill and commitment on our part. Insanity can be doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. Knowing how and what gets us down can help us eliminate those things from our life. Being mindful and practicing meditation are ways to help our awareness.

Communicating our stress and what troubles us is often where we fall short. If we have stress for various life events, then we can talk through that pain or anticipation with others. These conversations help us to process what is happening around us and create a vision for how thoughts and feelings may be irrational or off-center. Find people in your life who can help you talk through your stress. These can be both personal and professional.

Take control of your stress and your life, this is a crucial element of maintaining a healthy and happy existence. Recognizing the source of our stress and implementing strategies to combat or eliminate the stress can improve our physical and mental health. If we prioritize our well-being now, we may be able to avoid larger issues later.

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