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Managing Your Stress

Stress can affect both the short and long term health of your body. Managing stress and the situations that cause it is an important aspect of healthy living. Keep reading about stress below or take our Stress Inventory you can take to find out if you might be at risk.

For information about how you can reach a stress counselor or gain additional information scroll to the bottom of this page.

How Stress Works

Stress is one way our bodies react to certain situations and stimuli. People are often not aware of their automatic physical reactions to everyday problems and worries. During tense situations or emergencies our body chemistry, heart rate and blood pressure change to help us react effectively but these same reactions can cause health problems if the body remains in a stressed state for long periods of time.

Long term stress is usually caused by stressors that never go away or a multitude of stressors affecting us at the same time.

Causes of Stress

While many situations can cause stress the most dangerous are those responsible for long-lasting stress on your body. Here are some general causes of stress on the body:

  • Negative events
  • Long lasting problems
  • Uncontrollable or unpredictable events
  • Ambiguous events (unclear problems or solutions to the problems)

Any of these can have a negative effect on your body but the presence of multiple problems can severely affect your health.

Symptoms of Long Term Stress

Many stressors in our lives continue for a long time. They can be hard to recognize or change and over time these stressors will cause symptoms to develop if you have a high stress level. Although each person reacts to long-term stress in different ways it is important to recognize stressors and the symptoms they cause. Read our Stress Inventory List to see some major symptoms of stress.

Ways to Reduce Stress

It is impossible to eliminate stress completely. Instead, trying to reduce the amount of stress in your life and control your reactions to the stressors can stop many of its negative affects and greatly improve your health. Try some of these basic ideas to reduce your stress level:

  • Share your worries with someone you trust
  • Work out to keep your body healthier and take your mind of stressful issues
  • Have some fun to take some of the stress off your mind and body
  • Reevaluate your priorities and concentrate on one thing at a time
  • Do not expect too much from yourself and set unrealistic goals
  • Get rest so you do not become counterproductive from overextending yourself
  • Slow down and take your time - do not rush through each day
  • Avoid self medication - alcohol and drugs can help mask the symptoms of stress but they usually cause more stress - and other problems over time
  • Give yourself permission to grieve

Find Out if You Are Stressed

Avera McKennan offers stress management counseling and additional information about stress and how to deal with it. To get an idea of how stressed you are, complete this Stress Inventory.

Additional Information

For in depth assistance with stress issues, counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information please call Avera Behavioral Health Center at 605-322-4065 or 800-691-4336.