National Stress Awareness: How to De-Stress for Better Health
Stress is all around us. We all experience it, although in very different ways. According to the American Institute of Stress, 77 percent of people experience regular physical symptoms of stress. And that statistic was reported before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, 2 in 3 adults say they have experienced increased stress over the course of the pandemic. That is why since 1992, April has been established as National Stress Awareness Month to help bring awareness to the issues behind stress, offer resources on how to prevent stress, and tips to de-stress.
There is no single definition for stress, but the American Institute of Stress states the most common explanation is a “physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension.” Considering the past year we’ve all experienced, we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to reevaluate our lifestyle choices and take steps to manage stress and its negative effects.
The Effects of Stress
Stress is normal and in certain situations, is not harmful. But, when you are exposed to stress for a long period of time or in extreme circumstances, it can lead to mental and physical health issues, affecting your overall well-being.
Long-term, or chronic, stress can cause a variety of symptoms such as:
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Increased cortisol levels
- Digestive health concerns
- Reduced cardiovascular health
- Joint and muscle pain
- Suboccipital headaches
Stress can also be a trigger that leads to other unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, drinking, inactivity, or consuming unhealthy foods. This is why it’s so important to keep your stress under control and learn how to respond to stress in a healthful way.
Tips to De-Stress
Stress will always be there. We cannot change that fact. But we can change our reaction to stress. Since much research has demonstrated the link between stress and health, it’s important to find ways to reduce stress in your life and improve quality of life.
Here are some tips from the CDC to help keep your stress (and your health) in check:
- Take care of yourself – eat healthy, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, give yourself a break if you feel stressed.
- Discuss your problems with a parent, friend or another trusted source.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol.
- Recognize when you need more help – know when to talk to a psychologist, social worker or counselor if things continue.
You can use many tools to combat stress. Some additional tips may include:
- Adopting a healthy way of eating
- Practicing gratitude
- Sleeping enough
How Can Physical Therapy Help Reduce Stress?
Tension headaches are debilitating, and physical therapy can help you overcome pain from stress-related headaches. Treatment may include reducing tension in the neck or back, alleviating tightness of the jaw muscles, using hands-on manual therapy to promote muscular
relaxation and designing an exercise program to target areas of muscle weakness with or
If you’re ready to take charge of your wellness, Twin Boro is ready to help! Celebrate National Stress Awareness Month by making an appointment today by calling 1-866-407-2144! Let one of our talented, caring physical therapists get you on the road to recovery.
Did you know that you have Direct Access to Physical Therapy? A referral is not needed to get treatment.