Whether it is pressure at work, financial worries or relationship difficulties, most of us experience stress at some point in our lives. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, about 75% of Americans reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress within the past month.

Many who have experienced pressurized situations may have found that we perform better under such circumstances. This instant boost in concentration and determination is due to a “flight-or-fight” response; a process that identifies a threat and quickly releases hormones that encourage us to protect ourselves from perceived harm. When our “fight-or-flight” response overreacts as a result of constant threat exposures, detrimental health problems can arise.

According to the American Institute on Stress, approximately 2 out of 3 doctor visits are stress related. The common effects of stress can impact not only our mood and behavior, but our bodies too. Have you ever experienced headaches, inability to sleep, chest pain, muscle tension, or an upset stomach when stressed? This was not a coincidence. It’s our body’s way of telling us it is time slow down and relax. By utilizing stress management techniques, we can decrease blood pressure, lower heart rate, slow breathing rate, and reduce muscle tension. Shake off your stress for a healthier quality of life!

Did You Know?

  • 43% of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress, based on studies conducted by the APA.
  • The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) defines stress as the “brain’s response to any demand”.
  • Stress costs the American industry more than $300 billion annually.
  • Managing stress is about taking charge of your thoughts, emotions, schedule, and the way you deal with problems.

The 4 A’s of Dealing with a Stressful Situation:

  1. Avoid Unnecessary Stressors
    – Learn how to say “no”
    – Distinguish the “shoulds” and “musts”
  2. Alter the Situation
    – Manage your time and plan ahead
    – Express your feelings to prevent a buildup of feelings and concerns
  3. Adapt to the Stressor
    – Regain a sense of control by changing your expectations and attitudes
    – Look at situations from a positive perspective
  4. Accept the Stressor and Situation
    – Accept situations you cannot change
    – Focus on how you choose to react to the stressful situation.

Source: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-management.htm

Sources: Mental Health America, American Psychological Association, Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute of Mental Health, American Institute of Stress, the Mayo Clinic, WebMD, LifeWork Strategies EAP, and Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For medical advice, consult your physician. Feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.