The HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) recognizes Stress Awareness Month

In 1992, April was established as National Stress Awareness Month to help shed light on the issues behind stress, teach how to fight stress, and create methods to overcome stress. Try 5 ways that will help you fight stress courtesy of the Georgetown Behavioral Health Institute.

Understanding Stress and Its Effect

Experiencing stress in and of itself is not harmful, but when stress is prolonged, extreme, or constant, it can lead to health issues, both physical and mental. Stress can raise your blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels, leading to fatigue, digestive health issues, and even poor cardiovascular health. Stress can also be a trigger for unhealthy life choices like drinking, smoking, eating unhealthy foods, and lazing in days away.

How To Fight Stress

Too many of us are missing out on life due to stress, but there are steps you can take to manage stress and its negative effect. You cannot eliminate or change stress, but you can change how you react to it. Some ideas on how to fight stress are to:

  • Stay Positive: Every day, as often as possible, think about and be grateful for all the amazingly wonderful things in your life: a comforting love, a good job, or a great vacation. Practice gratitude for the things you take for granted, like a roof over your head, food in your fridge, or modern medicine. Enjoy small stuff: coffee already made when you get to work; the first robin of spring; a funny cloud that makes you laugh.
  • Meditate: When you are feeling stressed, take time throughout your day to do some deep breathing and relax. Try to clear your mind, rid yourself of all negative thoughts, and breathe in positive energy. Practice mindfulness, being aware of your surroundings, other people, and what you do or say. Try journaling thoughts and events to help you understand their significance, learn from them, and then let them go.
  • Make Healthy Choices: You do not need to join a gym and work out 2 hours a day to stay active. Take a daily walk…or 2…or 3. Adopt a healthy way of eating, avoiding refined sugars and carbs and processed foods. Fight stress by sticking to a diet of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. Lastly, give your body the time it needs to recover by getting adequate rest.
  • Try a Social Detox: Unplug from the world. Put down the devices, and better yet, turn them off completely. Try to go as long as possible without looking at social media, texting, tweeting, or using any electric communication or entertainment. Enjoy the beauty of the present.
  • Enjoy Stress Relievers: What do you like to do that will make you relax? Read a book, listen to music, paint, draw, sing, dance. Relax in a warm bath and indulge in some aromatherapy. Increase circulation and reduce stress hormones with some massage therapy. Whatever brings your contentment and peace, include it in each day.

These tips can help you learn how to overcome stress, but the Georgetown Behavioral Health Institute understands that sometimes these things just aren’t enough. Stress often leads to serious problems with both mental and physical health, so there program are designed to address stress and the resulting disorders.

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