Stress Awareness Month

April 2022

Stress Awareness Month has been recognized every April since 1992. Learning to cope with our stress and finding healthy ways to deal with these situations can go a long way in living a healthy and positive life. After all, stress can impact many aspects of your body. Learning to cope with our stress and finding healthy ways to deal with these situations can go a long way in living a healthy and positive life.

What is Stress?

Stress isn’t technically a disease, although it can have lasting effects on an individual’s mental health. Rather, it’s a response. Specifically, it’s one of the body’s natural physical, mental, and emotional reactions to an external stressor. Frequently the source of stress is rooted in change—a big move, a new project, a wedding, etc. But it can also stem from a person’s surroundings, like an aggressive boss or a tense conversation.

When the body faces a perceived threat, stress levels rise and hormones like cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine are released to increase alertness, tense muscles, and heighten blood pressure. This is the evolutionary “fight or flight” response. But in most cases, the cause of stress isn’t a physical attacker, so it can result in headaches, extended muscle tension, lack of sleep, indigestion, and other symptoms.

In short bursts, stress can actually help someone increase productivity or maintain focus. But chronic stress can contribute to health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, anxiety disorders, and gastrointestinal disorders.

Stress Stats in the US

  • Nearly 1 in 5 American adults say that their mental health has declined since last year (American Psychological Association, 2020)
  • According to the American Psychological Association, U.S. adults surveyed in 2020 reported that increased stress has:
    • Negatively affected their behavior (49%)
    • Increased tension in their bodies (21%)
    • Caused them to “snap” out of anger (20%)
    • Caused unexpected mood swings (20%)
  • Sixty-five percent of Americans surveyed said that the current uncertainty in the nation causes them stress (American Psychological Association, 2020)

Stress Prevention

The daily health issues and costs of stress have prompted Americans to look for ways they can preemptively head it off. It’s not always possible to prevent stress, but there are some ways to stop it before it starts. Many of these techniques stem from a mindset shift. Learning how to curb these unhealthy thought patterns can improve one’s ability to deal with stressful situations, resulting in less stress overall.

“Sometimes stress can be caused by negative self-talk, a pessimistic outlook, perfectionism or inability to accept change.”

– Brian Wind, PhD, a clinical psychologist and Chief Clinical Officer at JourneyPure

Identifying significant stressors can also help a person handle them when they arise or avoid them entirely (if possible). Stress can be caused by external events such as difficulties in personal relationships, financial difficulties or work. While these aren’t always avoidable, they’re things that a person can mentally prepare for and maintaining positive life can help improve resilience and improve relationships.

Coping With Stress

Work is a top stressor around the world. Here at Victra, it’s important that we promote a healthy environment and ensure that our employees know how to cope with stressful situations to prevent prolonged stress and burnout. A healthy work-life balance is an essential piece in that puzzle, so we encourage all employees to utilize their PTO to ensure you stay recharged and ready to bring your best self to work.  We encourage you to leverage the tips below to help cope with stress.

  • Take care of yourself! Eat healthy, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, give yourself a break if you feel stressed.
  • Share your problems and how you are feeling and coping with a family member, friend, doctor, pastor or counselor.
  • Start laughing! Read some jokes, watch something funny, but do something to take your mind off the issues that are causing you stress. Laughing is a common and easy solution to help relieve your stress.
  • Make a list. Prioritizing what you need to do every day is a great way to understand your progress and keep your mind in order even as you may be worrying you are falling behind.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol. These can create additional problems and increase the stress you are already feeling.
  • Recognize when you need more help. Know when to talk to a psychologist, social worker or counselor if things continue. Utilize our Employee Assistance Program for 24/7 support.  

Connecting Technology to Stress Management

Take a Break!

Take a Break! is a free app that helps you quickly recharge. Listen to a 7-minute Work Break or 13-minute Stress Relief recording with or without music or nature sounds.

Shine

The mental wellness space is predominantly white. Because of this, many apps and other mental health resources don’t take into account the unique experiences facing people of color. That’s why the founders of Shine set out to create an app specifically geared toward people of color and women.