Dealing With Stress

Stress is a natural part of life. It is how we react to stress, however, that can have a negative impact on our health. It’s impossible to prevent stress, but you can lessen it by planning ahead and preparing for stressful events.

What Causes Stress?

An unexpected change in life can be stressful, such as running late or getting lost. Other changes can cause stress, good or bad, like a promotion at work, illness, or marriage. Our bodies react to stress with faster heartbeats, tense muscles, sweating, and increased blood pressure.

Ways to Manage Stress

  • Take time to relax
  • Get active
  • Eat healthy
  • Talk to family and friends

Managing stress can help you sleep better, control your weight, and get along better with family and friends. Staying positive is key, as is being prepared and in control of the situation.

Signs of Stress

When peole are under stress, they may feel:

  • Depressed
  • Irritable
  • Unable to focus
  • Worried

Some other signs can be:

  • Back pain
  • Headaches
  • Problems sleeping
  • Tense muscles
  • Upset stomach
  • Weight gain or loss

Take Action

Follow these eight tips for preventing and managing stress:

1. Plan Your Time
Think ahead about how you are going to use your time. Write a to-do list and decide what tasks are important and which are not. Be realistic about how long things will take.

2. Prepare
Picture an event in your mind. Be positive. Think through what may happen and what you may say.

3. Relax with deep breathing
Deep breathing is a great way to relax. It’s easy, and you can do it anywhere:

  1. Lie down or sit in a chair.
  2. Rest your hands on your stomach.
  3. Slowly count to four and inhale through your nose. Feel your stomach rise. Hold it for a second.
  4. Slowly count to four while you exhale through your mouth. To control how fast you exhale, purse your lips like you’re going to whistle. Your stomach will slowly fall.
  5. Repeat five to 10 times

4. Relax your muscles
Stress causes tension in your muscles. Try careful, gentle stretching or a hot shower or bath to relax.

5. Get active
Physical activity can help prevent and manage stress. It can also relax muscles and make you feel better. Taking a walk can get you away from a stressful situation, help you think, and move your body.

6. Eat healthy
Eating lots of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat protein helps your body battle stress.

7. Talk to friends and family
Tell someone if you feel stressed. They may be able to help.

8. Get help if you need it
A therapist or mental health professional can help you deal with stress—especially if your stress doesn’t go away or keeps getting worse. Over time, stress can lead to depression, anxiety, and other health problems. There is no shame in asking for help.

Call Premier Community Health (PCH) at (937) 227-9400 if you have questions or would like additional information on stress management.