July 26, 2012
Information provided by ERC Partner University Hospitals
Stress – the mere mention of the word often evokes images of racing heartbeat, headache or tension. Stress may be considered as any physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental unrest and that may be a factor in causing disease.
Americans continue to struggle with high stress levels, which can have a detrimental effect on their health. According to the American Psychological Association, 75% of adults reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress in the past month and nearly half reported that their stress has increased in the past year. The problem is not limited to adults. Stress is a top health concern for U.S. teens, and psychologists say that if they don’t learn healthy ways to manage that stress now, it could have serious long-term health implications.
If stress disrupts body balance and function, then is all stress bad? Not necessarily. A mild degree of stress and tension can sometimes be beneficial. For example, feeling mildly stressed when carrying out a project or assignment often compels us to do a good job, focus better, and work energetically.
It's impossible to completely eliminate stress, and it would not be advisable to do so. Instead, by developing methods to manage stress, we can have control over our stress and its effects on our physical and mental health.
Some suggested strategies for stress management are:
- Engage in relaxation techniques such as, yoga, guided imagery, Tai Chi and progressive muscle relation.
- Develop time-management skills.
- Participate in counseling or group therapy.
- Exercise regularly.
- Develop a strong social support network. People who have a strong support system report less stress and fewer negative symptoms of stress than those who lack social support.
For additional information on developing stress management skills, contact University Hospitals Connor Integrative Medicine Network at 216-285-4070.
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