Monday, April 1, 2013

April is National Stress Awareness Month

Take a deep breath and RELAX..…. April 1st marks the beginning of National Stress Awareness Month.  Sponsored by The Health Resource Network, Stress Awareness Month is a cooperative effort to 
inform people about both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic.

Just what is stress?  Stress is the body’s way of responding to any type of demand or perceived threat.   The body enters a state of alertness - muscles tense, breathing becomes faster, heart rate and blood pressure increase as does the production of certain hormones including adrenalin and cortisol.  Some stress is good.  It motivates us and can lead to positive change and personal growth.  Stress becomes problematic when it is chronic and the body never has a chance to wind down.   Chronic stress can cause a host of symptoms including irritability, fatigue, headaches, weight gain, insomnia, difficulty concentrating and stomach aches or intestinal distress.  

 We can’t avoid all stress but we can counteract its negative effects by learning how to evoke the relaxation response.  The relaxation response is a powerful antidote to stress.  It brings the nervous system back into balance.  There are a variety of techniques to produce the relaxation response.  These techniques include progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, tai chi, yoga and meditation.

Over the next few weeks I will discuss several of these relaxation techniques, and provide tools that you can start using immediately to reduce stress and increase well-being.   Experiment with several of them until you find the technique that works best for you.  Learning the basics of these techniques isn’t difficult, but achieving continued benefit does take regular practice.   Most experts recommend setting aside 10-15 minutes a day for your relaxation practice. 

Awareness is the first step in coping with stress.  Do you suspect that stress might be a problem?  Take The Stress Test  to find out.  Looking for stress relieving suggestions that you can implement today? Read my post  Ways to relieve Stress Naturally.  Until next week.…just remember to BREATH.


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