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Stress is when you wake up screaming and you realize you weren't asleep

Did you know April is National Stress Awareness Month? To be honest, I didn't realize that stress had its own month and really a whole year of stress bundled into one month worth of awareness, does that seem fair? But the fact is we all experience stress from time to time - and we all know that anything in moderation is not necessarily bad, stress hormones in small doses help the body's natural alarm system. Thanks to this system, you are better equipped to handle and respond to all kinds of threatening situations. In those situations, your response time quickens and you become flooded with stress hormones that override your normal state of rest and make you more alert. The whole process is actually amazing if you really think about it.
The problem is when your stress-response system never gets the chance to "shut down" and allow your body to recover. Long-term stress can create many health issues and wreak havoc on your well-being. Stress has become a widely recognized societal problem due to lower employment rates, longer work hours, stressful careers, economic difficulties, relationship issue and many other things. Being "stressed out" has become such a common phenomenon, that people often continue to function while unaware that stress overload is occurring. It is important to understand and identify stress and be able to know when stress is taking a toll on your body and what steps to take to reduce it. Recognizing stress is the first step in lessening its impact. Many of us spend so much time in a stressed state, that we've forgotten what it feels like to be fully relaxed and instead feel that being "stressed out" is normal.
There are countless techniques for preventing stress. Yoga and meditation work wonders, but who can take a moment to chant or meditate during a job interview or a disagreement with your spouse? For these situations, you need something more immediate and accessible. That's when quick stress relief comes in. Here are a few stress reliefs that are easy and really help:
  • Go for a short walk
  • Squeeze a stress ball
  • Listen to the soundtrack of nature, crashing waves, wind rustling the trees or birds singing
  • Close your eyes and picture yourself in a place that feels peaceful
Remember being "stressed out" should not feel normal, remember what it's like to feel relax so you can realize when stress is taking over and learn to control it. I saw a bumper sticker the other day and it perfectly describes how stress "day in and day out" can make you feel like; "Stress is when you wake up screaming and you realize you weren't asleep!" Don't let stress take over, take control of stress, your mind and body will thank you.
By Frank Garcia, Interactive Media and Marketing Manager

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