Not all stress is bad. But chronic (ongoing) stress can lead to health problems. Preventing and managing chronic stress can lower your risk for serious conditions like heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and depression.

You can prevent or reduce stress by:

  • Planning ahead
  • Deciding which tasks need to be done first
  • Preparing for stressful events


Some stress is hard to avoid. You can find ways to manage stress by:

  • Noticing when you feel stressed
  • Taking time to relax
  • Getting active and eating healthy
  • Talking to friends and family


What are the signs of stress?

When people are under stress, they may feel:

  • Worried
  • Angry
  • Irritable
  • Depressed
  • Unable to focus


Stress also affects your body. Physical signs of stress include:

  • Headaches
  • Back pain
  • Problems sleeping
  • Upset stomach
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Tense muscles
  • Frequent or more serious colds


What Causes Stress?

Change is often a cause of stress. Even positive changes, like having a baby or getting a job promotion, can be stressful.

Causes of short-term stress:

  • Needing to do a lot in a short amount of time
  • Experiencing many small problems in the same day, like a traffic jam or running late
  • Getting lost
  • Having an argument


Causes of long-term stress:

  • Problems at work or at home
  • Money problems
  • Caring for someone with a serious illness
  • Chronic (ongoing) illness
  • Death of a loved one


You can’t always avoid stress, but you can take steps to deal with your stress in a positive way. Follow these 9 tips for preventing and managing stress. Being prepared and feeling in control of your situation might help lower your stress.

1) Plan Your Time

Think ahead about how you are going to use your time. Write a to-do list and figure out what’s most important – then do that thing first. Be realistic about how long each task will take.

2) Prepare Yourself

Prepare ahead of time for stressful events like a job interview.

3) Relax with Deep Breathing

Deep breathing and meditation are 2 ways to relax your muscles and clear your mind.

4) Relax your Muscles

Stress causes tension in your muscles. Try stretching or taking a hot shower to help you relax.

5) Get Active

Regular physical activity can help prevent and manage stress.It can also help relax your muscles and improve your mood. Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of physical activity. Try going for a bike ride or taking a walk.

6) Eat Healthy

Give your body plenty of energy by eating healthy – including vegetables, fruits, and lean sources of protein.

7) Consume Alcohol in Moderation

Avoid using alcohol or other drugs to manage stress. If you choose to drink, drink only in moderation. This means no more than 1 drink a day for women and no more than 2 drinks a day for men.

8) Talk to Friends and Family

Tell your friends and family if you are feeling stressed. They may be able to help. Learn how friends and family can help you feel less stressed.

9) Get Help if you Need it

Stress is a normal part of life. But if your stress doesn’t go away or keeps getting worse, you may need help. Over time, stress can lead to serious problems like depression or anxiety.A mental health professional (like a psychologist or social worker) can help treat these conditions with talk therapy (called psychotherapy) or medicine.

[Click here] to download the PDF version of our “MANAGE YOUR STRESS” e-newsletter.


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