April is stress awareness month. It is a time to raise awareness for causes and cures for stress.
What are the Effects of Stress?
According to the American Psychological Association, “Body stress affects all systems of the body including muscles, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous and reproductive systems.” Stress can cause tight muscles and tension headaches, it can trigger asthma, and it releases stress hormones like adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol. Stress can also cause you to gain weight.
Besides not feeling good at the moment, stress has potentially serious long-term effects on the body. Chronic stress can create long-term problems with arteries and cholesterol.
At LVHC our primary care physicians consider a patient’s entire physical and mental well-being when addressing health issues. Our primary care team provides a wide range of medical services, like detecting and managing acute and chronic health conditions that may be related to stress.
How to Manage Stress
Exercise to Reduce Stress
Exercise increases your brain's production of endorphins — a feel-good chemical. Exercise also helps combat the negative short-term and long-term effects of stress.
As a minimum, 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week is recommended, for example, walking 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
Engage in Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques have proven to be effective in stress management. Relaxation techniques include breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation. Our LVHC team has compiled a playlist of youtube resources to help you relax and better manage stress.
LVHC also has a seasonal community garden. In the summertime, come walk through our garden, enjoy the outdoors, and pick some vegetables for your next meal.
Find an Outlet to Reduce Stress
Do you have a hobby? Do you like painting or drawing, working on a car, tending to a garden, or baking bread? Creative or productive activities can help refocus energy. Some people even find cleaning or decluttering their living spaces helps to reduce stress.
Talk to Someone
Talk to someone about your life stresses. Friends, family members, and therapists can be good listeners during challenging times.
LVHC has behavioral health services for patients. Behavioral health services have been found to decrease the number of stress-related medical care issues and help provide patients with better coping skills for dealing with their problems.
Be Proactive to Stressors
Real-life situations create stress responses. Are there things you can do to lessen life stress?
Check out our list of community resources that can help reduce real-life stressors, like assistance with food and housing needs.
LVHC also has several support groups that may help provide tools to better deal with life stressors.
To schedule an appointment with a primary care doctor or behavioral health specialist in our Laytonville health center, call 888-214-3763