Stress is a normal part of life. Stress can come from any situation or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or anxious. What is stressful to one person is not necessarily stressful to another.
In small quantities, stress is good — it can motivate you and help you be more productive. However, too much stress, or a strong response to stress, can be harmful. It can set you up for general poor health as well as specific physical or psychological illnesses like infection, heart disease, or depression. Persistent and unrelenting stress often leads to anxiety, and unhealthy behaviors like overeating and abuse of alcohol or drugs. (Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension or fear. The source of this uneasiness is not always known or recognized, which can add to the distress you feel.)
What You Can Do About Stress
Know the causes of stress in your life (your job, your children, money). Identify the stress signals (headaches, nervousness, or trouble sleeping). Create peaceful times in your everyday schedule. (For example, set aside an hour where you can get away from other people and your usual environment.) Try any, (or ALL), of the following relaxation techniques.
1. Take a few deep breaths. This makes you breathe slower and helps your muscles relax.
2. Exercise – take a walk during the day.
3. Think positive. Remember the things that are good in your life.
4. Count to ten. This makes you stop and relax before you react to the stressful situation.
5. Take a good stretch. Stretching makes muscles relax and helps you feel less tense.
6. Massage the tense muscles. The muscles in the back of your neck and upper back usually get tense when you are stressed.
7. Take hot baths or showers to help you relax.
8. Listen to music you enjoy.
9. Talk to your family and friends about your feelings. It is important for them to know how you feel so they can help you.
10. Get help when you need it. If you are losing sleep or you have headaches and neck or back pain, you should talk to your local health care professional.