Awareness is the key to challenging stigma about mental illness. Approximately 18.5 percent of Americans face some form of mental illness, within a given year. Yet mental health is still not seen as an important part of health and wellbeing. Nothing is further from the truth. April has many mental health related causes to support; including:
- Alcohol Awareness Month
- National Autism Awareness Month
- National Counseling Awareness Month
- Stress Awareness Month
Stress management is something everyone talks about. Even so, many people don’t realize how much it affects both psychological and physical health. Anxiety-related stress has serious physical implications. Let’s take a look at some statistics about stress and why Stress Awareness Month is important.
The rate of stress in America is on par with previous years, but now people are more likely to report its symptoms. Anxiety, anger and fatigue were the symptoms most reported in the APA “Stress in America” study.
In it, 63 percent of respondents admitted to feeling stress about the future of the nation. Older Adults (56%), Boomers (57%), Gen Xers (61%) and Millennials (59%) all believe this is the lowest point in the nation’s history.
Below are some more staggering statistics about stress.
- Job pressure, money and health are the top three causes of stress in the U.S.
- 77 percent of Americans experience physical symptoms associated with stress, regularly
- 48 percent of Americans say stress negatively affects their professional and personal life
- $300 billion is the annual cost to employers for stress-related days of work missed
Tips for Stress Management
There are many tips for managing stress and professional help is available. Psychologists and counselors work with people every day to help them overcome stress-related issues. Psychiatrists provide guidance for medication-assisted treatments.
For a little everyday help, check out these tips for stress management.
1. Make a move
Exercise gets the brain to produce the stress-busting neurotransmitter, serotonin. It’s up to you to choose your favorite way to move. A morning jog, dancing, climbing, tennis, skating, even a brisk walk can help. The movement keeps your blood flowing and oxygen pumping.
There’s also weight training, yoga, Pilates and more. Make a point to make a move and you’ll help yourself stress a little less.
2. Hobbies help
There are so many wonderful hobbies you can take part in. If you already have a favorite, taking the time to enjoy it can help you relax. You may want to learn a new skill or start another hobby, which keeps your mind actively engaged. As you improve at your new pastime, you experience fulfillment. This can reduce stress as well.
3. Meaningful meditation
The deep breathing exercises used during meditation assist in relaxation. The overflow of oxygen helps the brain send messages to your body to calm down and reset. This process is great for stress relief.
4. Family and friend fun time
Americans are busier than ever. It takes intentional planning to rest. Studies show quality time with loved ones decreases cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone released when stress levels are high. It is often associated with irritability and weight gain.
5. That’s entertainment
Listen to your favorite music and dance. Take a night to watch your favorite films. Join your favorite crew for a night of online gaming. Gather a few friends and check out the local music or art scene. Enjoying entertainment can be inspiring and give you the stress relief you need.