Stress and Health: How can you manage feelings of stress

Stressed woman
Stress is that all-too-familiar feelings of tension in your body and your mind. How do you experience stress? Does your heart beat faster? Do your palms get sweaty? Do you get butterflies in your stomach? Stress is your body’s natural reaction to challenges.

Some stress is good stress. It can give you the extra energy. This kind of stress is called eustress. In eustress, even though the stress increases, your health and performance improve. Eustress doesn’t last long. Once the situation causing the stress is over, your physical reactions go away.

If stress lasts a long time, and you can’t relax, it becomes distress. Distress is bad stress. It harms your health and your ability to do things. Distress is your body’s way of telling you that you are doing too much, putting too much pressure on yourself, or not managing your time wisely. When you feel distress, it’s time to make changes.

What are some possible causes of distress?

You could be;

  • Too busy with too many activities and not have enough time to relax.
  • Worried about problems with friends or about problems at home or at school for students.
  • Trying to accomplish long-term goals without short-term goals to guide you.
  • Keeping a problem inside instead of talking to a parent or family member, adult friend, or counselor.
Things you can do to decrease the distress in your life include setting realistic goals; eating well and getting enough sleep; allowing enough time for exercise, chores, and homework; leaving time in your schedule for fun; talking over your problems with a family member or other adult; and taking the time to laugh.

Using these things to reduce stress in your life is called stress management. If your body is telling you there’s too much stress in your life, listen to it, and use some of these stress management skills to reduce the stress you’re feeling.

When to Get Help for Stress

If you have had any of these symptoms for a while, ask a parent or family member, teacher or counselor for help with stress.
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Eating problems
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