Healthy Habits

Stress Less

Content provided by the GBS Health & Wellness Team

Nearly one-third of Americans report suffering from extreme stress, and these numbers are on the rise, with approximately half of Americans experiencing increased stress levels over the last five years.

Because everyone experiences stress to some degree, it is universally important to develop effective stress management tools. Without these tools, individuals may experience chronic stress which leads to poor mental and physical health, followed by an increased risk for anxiety or depression.

Not All Stress is Bad

Stress manifests itself differently in everyone. It is caused by various triggers and each individual copes uniquely.

Not all stress is considered bad. Good stress or “eustress” can be motivating and exciting. It’s a rush of adrenaline that can push individuals to excel, reach goals, and stand out in tense situations. Chronic stress, however, is bad stress. This puts continued strain on the body and interferes with an individual’s ability to perform tasks and function normally.

Luckily, there are stress management strategies that help tackle these situations, including:

  • Identifying the cause of stress and finding proactive ways to reduce these triggers
  • Building supportive relationships that offer emotional support and an alternative perspective
  • Setting aside time for hobbies, relaxation, or mindfulness
  • Creating a list and prioritizing responsibilities

Fun Fact: Psychologists refer to positive stress as “eustress.” This type of stress is motivating and helps to improve performance. Eustress is often present with new and exciting ventures, such as getting married, purchasing a new house, riding a roller coaster, or competing for a promotion. 

Practice Daily

Here are a few small and simple ways to reduce stress daily. Aim to complete four items each week for the next month.

  • Take a walk
  • Light a candle
  • Plan quality time with friends and family
  • Schedule quiet time
  • Spend one hour without electronics
  • Take time to stretch
  • Be positive, view the glass as half full today
  • Spend time with an animal
  • Carve out time for a hobby
  • Make sleep a priority
  • Take adequate breaks during work
  • Soak in the sunshine, eat outside for lunch
  • Practice meditation
  • Take a walk down memory lane, look at old photos

References:
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml
https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Individuals-with-Mental-Illness/Taking-Care-of-Your-Body/Managing-Stress

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