Stress Awareness Month has been an ongoing campaign of awareness and education since 1992. The first Wednesday in November each year is National Stress Awareness Day. Everyone has stress. Sometimes we have temporary stress. Even everyday events, such as making time for errands, can be stressful. Other times, we face long-term stress, such as life-threatening illness, or divorce. Anything that causes a change in your life can cause stress, regardless of whether it is a positive or negative change. However, stress can help or hinder us depending on how we react to it.
Stress can cause health problems or make problems worse if we don’t apply appropriate and healthy ways to deal with it. Ensure with a qualified health professional if you have any of the symptoms below. It’s important to first make sure that your symptoms aren’t caused by other health problems.
Physical signs of stress are:
Back pain and/ or neck pain
Constipation or diarrhea
High blood pressure
Weight gain or loss
Skin problems, like hives
Psychological signs of stress:
Inability to concentrate or make simple decisions
Difficulty remembering things
Being easily distracted
Feeling less creative
Negative thinking Worrying
Depression and anxiety
Lack of concentration
Not making time for relaxation or fun
Increased reliance on alcohol, smoking, caffeine, and using drugs
Changes in appearance
Lack of energy
As we are advancing, we’re really not great at knowing when our stress levels have passed the point of acceptable. We think as long as we’re able to carry out our basic tasks for the day, we must be
functioning okay. But, we do not always pay attention to all the signs of stress. For us to maintain our well being, noticing what’s making us stressed helps us learn how we can deal with it. We need to make sure to prioritize our own well being.
That means getting enough sleep, eating well and exercising. Try avoiding caffeine, which can increase heart rate, anxiety, and adrenaline rush. Schedule recreation, which is essential for relaxation. Mental exercises such as mindfulness and meditation can help. Try not to be worried about things we can’t control, such as the traffic. Most importantly, ask for help if you’re stressed.
Puja Roy is a health psychologist and is currently working as a counselor at the Institute of Neurosciences, Kolkata. You can follow her here.