It's normal to get stressed from time to time. Most people do have some sort of level of stress in their day-to-day lives, though some may have more than others. But when stress gets out of control, it can take a major toll on your mental health and can also affect you physically. April is National Stress Awareness Month.
Heavy levels of stress that are not addressed can cause major issues. Some people turn to substance misuse to cope. That's why spreading awareness about stress and learning healthy ways to cope is so important. That is one of the goals of National Stress Awareness Month. The campaign that is behind this initiative has been going on since 1992. If this is the first that you've heard about it, don't worry; there are plenty of ways to participate.
The Purpose of National Stress Awareness Month
Stress is a complicated thing to define. While most people often associate it with mental health, it can affect you emotionally and physically as well. It comes forth from some sort of negative tension in our lives. Often it stems from something we don't have full control of.
When stress goes on for too long and is unaddressed, it can affect your performance at work or school. It can affect your quality of sleep, your appetite, and your daily habits. Some other ways that stress can affect your life include:
- Trouble concentrating
- Experiencing feelings of frustration, fear, or hopelessness
- Poor self-esteem
- Lack of motivation
- Chronic headaches or stomach problems
- Increased blood pressure
- Muscle tension
- Higher risk of heart disease
- Weight gain
The thing about stress is that you don't have to let it control you. You can learn healthy and effective ways to cope without having to turn to drugs or alcohol. You can also build up your resilience so that stressful events don't have as much of an effect on you moving forward.
One of the most significant purposes of National Stress Awareness Month is to let people know that they don't have to live this way. They can take control of your stress. It is also to encourage those that are struggling to reach out and seek help. There are many such resources available.
Healthy Coping Mechanisms for Stress
Some of the best things you can do to combat stress are entirely mental. They are practices that can turn into habits when continued over time. One of these is learning how to let go of situations that you cannot control. This is easier said than done.
There are so many things in life that you don't have control over, and often they are things involving the future. You can take practical steps to prepare for these things by taking care of your physical and mental health and making good financial decisions. But ultimately, you cannot prepare for every single thing the future may throw at you. This is where you must learn to trust yourself to have done everything possible to be prepared and let go of the rest.
Learning to stop obsessing over things you can't control is incredibly freeing. It can free up a lot of mental space and allow you to think about other things that matter more. Another important way to handle stress is to learn how to be more aware of your thought processes. When you find yourself dwelling on stressful thoughts about things you can't control, learn to stop yourself and shift your brain to something more positive.
More Tips on Managing Stress
Remember that your mental and physical health are closely connected. When you're not taking care of yourself physically, your mental health will likely suffer as a result. Thus, it is important to make sure you're eating healthy, well-balanced meals, getting enough sleep, fitting in exercise, and staying hydrated. This will naturally help you to be better equipped to handle stress.
Some additional things to consider to help manage stress include:
- Take breaks from social media
- Ask for help when you're feeling overwhelmed
- Practice yoga or some other form of meditation
- Spend time out in nature
- Enjoy quality time with a friend
- Process your thoughts through journaling
- Practice mindfulness
- Listen to calming music
It is important to note that if you feel that stress is playing a chronic negative role in your life and nothing you do seems to provide relief, you may need to reach out to your doctor. They may recommend speaking with a therapist or prescribe a certain medication to help you feel better.
If you're on your recovery journey, learning how to effectively manage stress in a productive and healthy way is crucial. This is because many people's first instinct when they are feeling overwhelmed or stressed is to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope. Healthy stressful management techniques can be established through recovery.
How are you going to participate in National Stress Awareness Month this year? Maybe you'll spread awareness by sharing information about stress on social media. Or maybe you'll consider adding some new stress management techniques into your daily life to help you manage stress more effectively. Managing stress is essential for those in recovery because you need to have healthy outlets for stress that don't involve turning to substance misuse. If you're currently struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol and are ready for a change, our team at The Ho Tai Way can help. Call (714) 581-3974 today to learn more about the types of services that we provide.