April is Stress Awareness Month. I don’t know about you, but I’m very aware of stress nowadays! Can you think of anyone who isn’t stressed? (Well, maybe babies. And dogs. Perhaps cats.)
Work stress abounds: More work for less employees. Morale is low, and workers are getting cranky.
Economic stress dominates: The newspapers shouts about it in its headlines every day. Budget crises in all levels of government. Unemployment still high. Housing market still shaky.
Not to mention day-to-day stressors: Family disagreements, people battling life-threatening illnesses, trying to make that dollar stretch, taking care of aging parents . . .
How Stress Affects Us
So we know that we’ve all got stressors. Unless we’re living in a cave somewhere far far away from here, like, say, the moon.
And some stress in our lives is okay, of course. Life would be boring if we didn’t have any stress at all. But it’s the heavy duty, chronic stress that can affect us negatively.
Even regular old stress affects us physically. For me, when I’m stressed out, my stomach lets me know it, and I toss and turn at night. This Mayo Clinic article points to further physical symptoms, as well as emotional and behavioral ones.
Finally, MSNBC has an interactive piece that defines how stress affects our bodies. For example, stress causes digestive problems, back pain, skin problems; it can even lead to belly fat, which in turn leads to other health problems.
- The American Institute of Stress is a non-profit organization provides information on all types of stress-related topics and is dedicated to stress research.
- Medline Plus offers some great resources, including overviews, treatment, latest research, and more.
How do you deal with stress? Do you have some tips to share with other readers?