Health & Environment

Stress Management Tips from NEW Health

by Mary Wright, RN, health educator at North End Waterfront Health

Stress can be defined as having more to handle than you are used to. Here are several common causes of stress:

  • Worries about money
  • Health problems
  • Family concerns
  • Problems at work
  • Death or illness of a family member or close friend
  • Any major life event, even happy ones like getting married, getting promoted at work, or having a baby
  • The pace of modern life, constant business, and media bombardment

When your body responds to stress, it releases hormones that cause your heart rate to increase, breathing become rapid, and you get a burst of energy. This is called the fight or flight response that helps you cope with an emergency.

Some stress can be helpful, but too much stress can be harmful to your body. Too much stress can weaken your immune system, make any health problems that you have worse, and it may make you moody, tense, and depressed.

When you’re feeling anxious or stressed, these strategies may help you cope:

  • Take a time-out
  • Eat well-balanced meals
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks
  • Get enough sleep
  • Exercise daily to help you feel good and maintain your health
  • Take deep breaths
  • Get help if you need it