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Effective Strategies for Managing Stress and Improving Mental Health

Did you know that April is considered "Stress Awareness Month"? Managing stress is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Knowing how to manage stress can improve mental and physical well-being as well as minimize exacerbation of health-related issues.

Stress is unavoidable. Now more than ever, it's important to understand stress and how we can manage it. While stress can be beneficial, too much of it can be harmful. When the body senses a threat, it goes on high alert, and once the threat passes, the body quickly recovers. At least that's the way it's supposed to work. Stressors can include health matters, work, money, family issues, racism or gender inequality, and regular daily hassles. With unrelenting or too many stressors, your body might be on a constant state of high alert, leading to poor concentration, bad moods, professional burnout, and mental and physical health problems.

It's critical to recognize what stress and anxiety look like. Here are several tips to help recognize stressors that may be affecting your health, and ways to help you build resilience :

  1. Recognize and counter signs of stress. Your body sends signals that say "I'm stressed out!" Knowing how your body communicates can help you deal with stressful moments.

  2. Take time for yourself. Make taking care of yourself a daily routine. Start with small changes in your routine to help build resilience to stressful circumstances. Work in time to exercise, eat healthy foods, participate in relaxing activities and sleep.

  3. See problems through a different lens. Experts call changing the way we think about and respond to stress "reframing." View sitting in traffic or around the house as an opportunity to enjoy music, podcasts or pleasant views.

  4. Talk to a health professional if stress is affecting your well-being, you feel you cannot manage the stress you're experiencing, or stress has caused you to engage in or increase substance use. Seek appropriate care if stress is harming your relationships or ability to work.

If you feel that you are experiencing constant stress and have no idea where to look for resources, give Sheltering Arms Independent Case Management Agency a phone call at (337) 739-9414 and we will ensure you receive the help you are looking for.

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