Parkridge Health System - April 23, 2019

Everyone has experienced stress at one point or another. And stress at times can have a positive effect. However, when your stress starts to negatively impact your overall health, it is time to take action!

During Stress Awareness Month this April, start taking steps to control your stress so that it doesn't take over your health. These tips will help you do just that.

The Health Effects of Stress

While you might think of stress as just headaches and anxiety, it can be so much more than that if you don't properly manage stress.

First things first, you have to determine what's causing your stress.

There are a number of things can bring about stress, including:

  • Chronic illness
  • Death of a loved one
  • Divorce
  • Emotional problems like depression or anxiety
  • Financial troubles
  • Getting married
  • Losing your job
  • Moving

While many of these things are outside of your control, you can control how you react to them.

Get a Handle on Stress

When you find yourself in a stressful situation, the levels of adrenaline and cortisol in your body are increased.

As a result, you might begin to feel that fight or flight sensation in your body that is put inside our brains to protect us from bodily harm. But when it is stress causing this response, it is important to take action immediately so that you are able to regain a sense of calm.

The next time you begin to feel overly stressed, try going for a brisk walk outside to get some fresh air. Better yet, start consistently getting at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week, as the exercise will not only help lower stress but will also help you get a good night's sleep, which is another important factor in managing your stress levels!

Managing your time more effectively and writing in a diary can also help to decrease your levels of stress and help you to maintain your quality of life—even during stressful situations.

Carving out regular time to decompress is also a vital step in helping manage your stress levels and keep them from overwhelming you.

Watch Out for Your Health

If you are unable to get a handle on your stress, a number of serious health problems can occur, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Obesity
  • Personality disorders
  • Stroke

If you're feeling like your stress levels are out of control, talk with your doctor about other ways to manage stress and to help ensure your health remains in good condition.

Mental health is as important as physical health. Parkridge Medical Center’s sister facility, Parkridge Valley, offers behavioral health services designed to help patients overcome mental health challenges and issues.