Since 1992, the month of April has been set aside to raise awareness about stress. Stress is a killer. It can cause a wide range of health problems and even death. The idea of National Stress Awareness Month was created to help people learn about the risks of stress and what you can do to manage your stress more effectively.
What are the Health Consequences of Stress?
Stress takes a toll on human health mentally and physically. If it continues unchecked, you can experience long-term and debilitating health conditions, including those listed below.
- High blood pressure.
- Increased heart rate.
- Increased cortisol (the stress hormone) levels.
- Loss of libido.
- Chest pain.
- Sleep problems.
- Digestive issues.
- Poor heart health.
Stress can also lead to life choices that are unhealthy, such as smoking, drinking, binge eating, and failing to get adequate exercise.
How Can You Manage Stress More Effectively?
One of the most important things you can do to manage stress effectively is to identify issues that are driving your stress, such as your job, debt, relationships, etc. and try to manage those situations. If you are unable to manage the cause directly or are in the process, there are other steps you can take to help you reduce the harmful impact stress can have on your life. Try these on for size.
- Meditation. We live in a fast-moving world. Meditation is taking the time to stop. Breathe. Relax. It is an opportunity to clear your mind of all the things that cause you stress and replace those thoughts with more positive uplifting ones instead.
- Get active. If exercise is a four-letter word for you, call it something else, like adult play time, swim lessons, or dance classes – something that sounds more fun and entertaining. The idea is to MOVE! Your body and your mind will thank you for it.
- Find a hobby. Taking a little time each day to focus on things that bring you joy can be incredibly uplifting and de-stressing. Build models, fly a kite, knit, read a book, or make music with some friends. The idea is to rediscover joy and bring it back into your life to reduce your stress and anxiety.
- Eat a healthier diet. You are what you eat. You’ve probably heard that before. It’s true. Focus on eating foods that are wholesome for you and provide plenty of nutrients. This includes lean meats, vegetables, and the ocassional fruit.
- Start a daily gratitude journal. One thing is certain. It is more difficult to feel stressed out when you’re spending part of your day focused on the things you’re grateful for. Try it. You’ll be impressed by how quickly your thoughts transform by this one simple act.
These things can be the perfect beginning to end your stress and the strangle-hold it has on your health. Try one or all of them today to see how quickly they can boost your mood and relieve your stress.
Managing Stress During COVID-19
COVID-19 has added new dimensions to the stress everyone is experiencing. Over the past year many people have lost jobs, lost income, lost loved ones, and lost a sense of health, safety, and security. This April, National Stress Awareness Month is taking on new meaning as people across the country struggle with stay-at-home orders, missing family, and missing the commeraderie that goes along with working among other humans.
Whether you’re living in isolation at the moment or one of the many essential workers bravely going to work each day in less than ideal circumstances, it is more important than ever for you to pay attention to your own stress levels and act to remove unnecessary stress from your life.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to eliminate stress. In fact, you can start a gratitude journal, go on a walk, or stay on track with your debt relief efforts. Century is here to help you get control of your debt to reduce stress in a big way. Just stick with the program and see how quickly your mood and your health improves as your debt shrinks.