Whether it’s work, family, money or something else, we all face situations that cause us stress. Stress is our body’s natural response to a challenge or demand and is good in small amounts. However, when stress lasts for long periods of time, known as chronic stress, it can cause health problems.
April is National Stress Awareness Month and is a great time to learn more about stress, its effects and how to manage it.
What is stress?
Stress is an emotional and physical reaction to challenges in our lives. It can be caused by something happening around us – like bad weather, a work deadline or public health emergency – or triggered by something psychological – such as worrying about a relationship, witnessing a traumatic event or losing a loved one.
What are the effects of stress?
How we express our stress and its effects on our bodies is different for everyone. Because of this, it is important to know how stress affects the body so that you can start taking steps to relieve it before it can cause bigger issues to your mental and physical wellbeing.
The most common effects of stress include:
- Trouble falling asleep and staying asleep
- High blood pressure
- Weight gain or loss
- Muscle tension and pain
When left untreated, stress can impact your health and increase the risk of heart disease, heart attack and substance abuse.
When should I get help?
While short bursts of stress are normal, such as getting through a difficult situation, there comes a point when stress can start to negatively impact our wellbeing. If you notice that your relationships are suffering, you’re sleeping or eating habits are changing for the worse, or you are having trouble dealing with everyday life, you should reach out to your medical provider for help.
Tips for managing stress
- Stick to a daily routine
- Get enough sleep
- Exercise regularly
- Connect with loved ones
- Spend time outdoors
At HealthLinc, our medical providers work directly with our behavioral health consultants to help patients identify the cause of their stress, develop coping mechanisms and develop a plan to manage stress in the long term.
While stress is a part of everyday life, you do not have to struggle with chronic stress that interferes with your well-being. Reach out today and get the help you need.