Stress is an unavoidable part of life, but it doesn’t have to be a disabling one. The term stress refers to our emotional and physical reaction to events that we find challenging. These events can be negative, such as the loss of a job, or positive, such as buying a home. Stress also can be short-term or chronic; chronic stress can take a serious toll on our well-being, leading to heart disease, depression, and other health concerns.
The more knowledgeable we are about how stress affects us and why, the better equipped we are to manage it. Stress management is the practice of learning and using positive coping strategies to reduce the effect of stress on our well-being.
The following stress management practices can strengthen your emotional well-being:
- Stay positive. Focus on the “here and now” rather than the future. Use gentle affirming self talk. Think in terms of what you have rather than what you don’t have or what you’ve lost. Surround yourself with positive people who support and accept you.
- Take time for yourself. Do things you enjoy. Take time to reflect each day. Laugh!
- Connect with others. Acknowledge and express your feelings. Seek professional help if you need it.
- Exercise on a daily basis. Thirty minutes of sustained physical activity releases brain chemicals called endorphins that are the body’s natural mood enhancer and pain reliever. Regular exercise helps to regulate energy levels so you feel more awake during the day and sleep better at night.
- Watch what you eat. Focus on fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and minimally processed foods. Avoid saturated fats, simple sugars, caffeine and alcohol. Remember to drink several glasses of water each day.
- Get support. The Village is here for you. Call 1-800-627-8220 to speak to our intake team and schedule an appointment. You can also request an appointment online.