Tips to Manage Stress and Promote Health

Wednesday, April 24 at 01:00 PM
Category: Arvest News

Stressed out. Burned out. Overwhelmed. These are common phrases we all use to describe our daily lives. Our modern world has us managing more stress than ever and finding ways to de-stress, unwind and relax. Stress affects us all at one time or another. This natural response is intended to enhance your ability to operate in challenging situations; however, too much stress isn’t normal and can be a chronic risk to your physical and emotional health.

April is National Stress Awareness Month, which was created by the Health Resource Network (HRN) to educate people about the risks and dangers of chronic stress. Learning to manage stress in a healthy way can help you optimize its benefits and can serve as a motivation to perform well.

What is Stress?

Stress is a normal physiological reaction to everyday demands of life. It can come from a variety of sources. The most common sources of stress stem from work, family or financial circumstances. Physical elements, such as excess heat or hunger, and psychological elements, such as feelings of fear or anger, can be significant stressors, as well. Even positive events, such as job promotion or marriage, can cause stress in daily life.

Your brain automatically signals a fight-or-flight response to your body when it perceives a threat. This leads to a burst of hormones that increases heart rate, raises blood pressure and increases alertness. In small amounts, this natural response helps you handle stress in the short-term. Chronic stress occurs when the body endures these stressors for longer periods or in more severe amounts.

The Dangers of Stress

Chronic stress can have a potentially serious impact on our minds, bodies and behaviors. These side effects can include anything from physical symptoms such as headaches or upset stomach to emotional reactions such as anger or irritability. Some of the more serious health conditions that stem from long-term chronic stress include depression or anxiety, heart disease, weight gain or loss, gastrointestinal problems and diabetes. These potential consequences of stress can lead to increased spending on medical bills and poor financial decisions. Practicing healthy stress management techniques can lessen these effects and help maintain your health and your savings.

How to Manage Stress

Stress can be a powerful tool to cope with daily hassles as well as significant challenges. While it’s impossible to eliminate stress completely, you can take steps to minimize its negative effects. The first step is to identify what triggers your stress. Major stressors such as job pressures or financial concerns are easy to recognize. But also consider smaller stressors, such as sitting in traffic or paying bills, when evaluating your triggers. Identify when you can control the stressor and when you can only control your reaction to the stressor, then develop strategies to manage what you can control.

Practicing relaxation techniques can also help with stress management. Consider the following practices to start building your resilience to stress†: 

  • Regular exercise
  • Healthy diet
  • Consistent sleep habits
  • Meditation and deep breathing
  • Yoga
  • Massage
  • Music and dance
  • Laughter
  • Vacations and days off
  • Time with friends 

Find ways to relax and take time for yourself when you are feeling overwhelmed. Stress management is an ongoing process, but by identifying your stressors and making a conscious effort to take care of your mind and body, you can reduce its chronic effects and maximize the benefits stress can provide.

Learn more about Stress Awareness Month* and read more about stress management from the Mayo Clinic*. 

* Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

†Consult with your doctor before beginning any new diet and/or exercise program. 




Natasha on 4/30/2019 at 6:15 PM
I endorse this article.
Taylor Bishop on 5/1/2019 at 2:12 PM
I wanted to thank you for this advice for managing stress. It's interesting to learn that consistent sleep habits can actually help you with stress. It sounds important to be strict with your sleep schedule so you always know when you need to be sleeping by.

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