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Healthy Living: Reduce Stress during Stress Awareness Month

According to the American Psychological Association, more than one third of Americans feel they are living with extreme stress. Stress can have a negative impact on our emotional and physical well being. Now is the perfect time to reflect on the causes of stress and ways to reduce it. Not only does April bring new life and changes, it is Stress Awareness Month. Stress Awareness Month exists to inform and educate people about the dangers of stress and how to reduce its effects.

Stress, both physical and mental, can transpire in many forms:

  • Family stress
  • Job stress
  • Financial stress

If ignored or not dealt with appropriately stress can: cause anxiety or depression; affect the heart and circulatory system, placing you at higher risk for heart disease or stroke; affect weight when eating too much or too little; result in difficulty with memory or concentration; or cause physical pain such as headaches, muscle pain or stomach discomfort. If untreated, these could grow into disorders and long-term health problems.

Of course avoiding the triggers of stress is one way to resolve this issue. However, some stress is unavoidable. When dealing with stress, follow these dos and don’ts.Go for a walk, work in your garden or play with a pet to reduce stress.


  • Make time for yourself to relax by reading a book, taking a long bath, starting a new hobby or listening to music.
  • Adapt a take-charge attitude with maintaining a positive outlook and keeping your sense of humor.
  • Release stress and tension by talking to a friend or keeping a stress journal to reflect on the cause of the stress, your feelings and your reaction.
  • Get organized. People generally feel better when their things and surroundings are in order.
  • Exercise! Spring brings us a comfortable atmosphere to get outside and see nature. Take advantage by going for a walk, working in your garden or playing with a pet. Exercise will improve your mood.
  • Take a vacation from the situation or circumstances that are causing stress.


  • Indulge in smoking or drinking alcohol.
  • Overeat or under-eat.
  • Withdraw from family and friends.
  • Sleep too much.
  • Take it out on others.
    These may provide temporary relief but will do more harm both physically and emotionally in the long run.

If you are having a hard time dealing with your stress, want additional information or ways to reduce stress, consult your physician. Or, take advantage of the community health education classes the Women's Heart Secrets Program offers.  Find out more information by visiting and clicking on "Classes, News and Events" on the left hand side. 


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