woman stressed at work

National Stress Awareness Day

Worldwide, 1 in 3 adults is suffering from high blood pressure – a condition that can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Routine stress related to work, school, family, and the myriad of daily stressful responsibilities can all play a role in short term or more chronic stress disorders.  The first Wednesday of November is observed as National Stress Awareness Day in the U.S.  The Centers for Disease Control reports that in any given year, anxiety and depression impact an estimated 9.5 percent of the American adult population. These conditions result in an estimated 200 million lost workdays each year – costing employers nearly 45 billion annually in lost revenue. 

Stress affects everyone. Stress is how the body and brain react to a state of mental or emotional strain, resulting from an adverse or demanding circumstance. Everyone feels stress from time to time and not all stress is bad.  In a dangerous situation, stress signals the body to prepare to face a threat or take flight. These stress signals are created to encourage personal survival.  Unfortunately, being in a prolonged, chronic state of stress can contribute to serious health problems such as hypertension, heart disease, sleep disorders, diabetes, decreased immunity, emotional distress, and chronic inflammatory illness. 

Recognize the signs and symptoms that your body is responding negatively to life circumstances and take action to manage your situation.  Set goals and realistic expectations in work and family life. Celebrate all the “wins” you experience daily. Set boundaries and stop taking on too much. Exercise is a great way to help boost your mood and improve your physical wellbeing.  It is critical to spend quality time with your emotional support circle. Go for a walk or take a yoga class with a friend or family member. Stay connected with friends and loved ones every chance you get. Seek the help of your primary care doctor and/or a mental health professional.  Don’t ever be ashamed to start the conversation with a clinician or loved one.

National Stress Awareness Day is a great excuse to break the habit of stressing over things we have zero control over! Take a deep breath, call a friend, take the dog for a long walk and enjoy your life. Check out this great resource from our friends at the Centers for Disease Control: Tips for Coping with Stress|Publications|Violence Prevention|Injury Center|CDC