April is Stress Awareness Month

When feeling overwhelmed or stressed, it helps to remember that stress is your body’s way of protecting you. Stress keeps you alert, focused, and responsive to threats. Stress can even save your life in an emergency – by triggering your fight or flight response. Say you’re driving down an unfamiliar back road at night, and suddenly a deer appears in your headlights. The deer freezes unexpectedly, leading you to slam on your brakes, and luckily, you narrowly avoid hitting the deer. In that split second, your body assessed and responded to a threat that ultimately saved your life.

Stress stops being helpful when it starts causing major problems to your health, mood, productivity, relationships, and overall quality of life and goes on unaddressed. Too much stress can negatively affect your mental health and can cause sleep and weight problems, irritability or aggression, fatigue, and concentration or memory problems which can then lead to depression, anxiety, and burnout. So how can we ensure that we can manage stress? The CDC has good advice on healthy ways to cope with stress, listed below: