April is known as being the month for taxes, spring showers, Easter, April Fools Day, and a variety of other events. But since 1992 it has also been Stress Awareness Month.
Stress has become so prevalent that U.S. an estimated 60 – 80% of visits to healthcare providers are related to stress. During this annual commemoration, mental health professionals work to increase public awareness about the causes and solutions for the stress “epidemic” that plagues modern society. By learning better coping strategies, individuals can reduce their own stress quotients.
The Health Resource Network (HRN) is the official sponsor of Stress Awareness Month. You can learn more at its website, where a free stress management report is available.
If you’re a Twitter fan, you’ll find that #StressAwarenessMonth provides a number of facts and resources across the twitterverse!
Another helpful source of information is an excellent article by ordained minister Will Bowen. He discusses 10 ways in which we can celebrate Stress Awareness Month and lower our stress levels in the process. They emphasize positive thinking; e.g., “get the giggles,” “keep a happiness journal,” “Put a positive spin on it.” You can read the full article at the BeliefNet website.
Finally, the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) website offers a helpful page on stress management. It features information on strategies for coping with stress, such as the “relaxation response.” If you’d like to take a stress time-out each day but aren’t ready to tackle something as complex as yoga or meditation, the relaxation response exercise provides similar benefits. The SAMHSA site provides a link to the newsletter “Stress and Health: The New ‘Apple a Day’ Prescription,” which provides detailed information and instructions on the relaxation response. Check it out – it’s simple and only takes 10 – 20 minutes a day.
We hope you’ll explore some of these resources to help keep your own stress level in check. After all, it’s tax month and the height of pollen season – we can all use a little help!