Stress is a reaction to a situation where a person feels threatened or anxious. Common reactions to a stressful event can include feeling sad, frustrated, and helpless; difficulty concentrating and making decisions; headaches, back pains, and stomach problems; or smoking or use of alcohol or drugs. Learning healthy ways to cope and getting the right care and support can help reduce stressful feelings and symptoms.
Feeling emotional and nervous or having trouble sleeping and eating can all be normal reactions to stress. Here are some healthy ways you can deal with stress:
- Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, exercise, get plenty of sleep, take breaks if you feel stressed out and practice self-compassion.
- Talk to others. Share your problems and how you are feeling and coping with a parent, friend, counselor, doctor or pastor.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol. These may seem to help, but they can create additional problems and increase the stress you are already feeling.
- Take a break. If current events are causing your stress, take a break from the news and/or social media.
- Recognize when you need more help. If problems continue or you are thinking about suicide, talk to a psychologist, social worker or professional counselor.
Not all stress is bad
Some stress in your life is okay. However, long-term stress can lead to health problems. Preventing and managing long-term stress can lower your risk for other conditions like heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and depression. You can prevent or reduce stress with these helpful tips:
- Plan ahead
- Decide which tasks to do first
- Prepare for stressful events
Some stress is hard to avoid.
Find ways to manage stress:
- Notice when you feel stressed
- Take time to relax
- Get active and eat healthy
- Talk with friends and family