Daily Herald American Heart Association
Mind your stress - The mind-body connection
What many of us do not realize – and what medical researchers are confirming in study after study – is that our stress levels are directly related to our physical well-being. Did you know that one in four people report they have missed work as a result of work-related stress? Most of us have felt “stressed out” at one time or another. When this feeling persists day after day, stress becomes chronic. Chronic stress can take a toll on our quality of life and on our bodies, making us susceptible to a host of illnesses. In fact, 75 percent of visits to the doctor’s office concern stress-related ailments.

Strategies for managing stress:

  • Treat your body right — Eating right and exercising can increase your tolerance to stress.
  • Set realistic goals — Do what is possible and carry on.
  • Set and re-set your priorities — Take care of important and difficult tasks first, and eliminate unessential tasks.
  • Take one task at a time — Divide large projects into smaller tasks, and make “to do” lists.
  • Take five — Taking a short break can help slow down your mind long enough to improve your ability to deal with stress later.
  • Learn to relax or meditate – Studies show that just 10 to 20 minutes of quiet reflection or meditation a day can bring relief from chronic stress and increase your tolerance to it.
  • Give yourself a break – No one is prefect. Striving to be the best in everything will lead to worry, anxiety and failure.
  • Learn to say “No” — Slow down and be honest about what you can comfortably do.
  • Be flexible — Make allowances for other people’s opinions and be prepared to compromise.
  • Avoid excessive competition — Excessive competition can be dangerous emotionally and physically, not to mention damaging to your job.
  • Go easy on criticism – Many expect too much of themselves or others. Try not to feel let down or frustrated when your expectations are not met.
  • Manage your anger — Retreat before you lose control. Allow time for all parties to cool down. You will all be better equipped to handle the problem constructively later.
  • Be honest with colleagues — Do not be afraid to let others know when you feel you are in a bind. Chances are others feel the same. Do not just complain: make practical suggestions for improvement.
  • Talk it out with a loved one — Talking it out can help you see things more clearly, release negative feelings, get emotional support, and gain a better perspective on the situation.
Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). For more information call Mental Health American of Illinois at (312) 368-9070, Ext. 10 or online visit www.mhai.org.

When to seek help

If you experience some or all of these signs of stress and they persist, it may be time to seek help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Taking care of yourself is a sign of strength.

  • Feeling constantly overworked
  • Strained relationships
  • Poor work performance
  • Overly emotional
  • Little things set you off
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches and backache
  • Rise in blood pressure

Did you know that chronic stress can:

  • Double your heart attack risk?
  • Increase your likelihood of developing a serious illness like diabetes or cancer?

Where to get help & resources

  • Employee-sponsored mental health or employee assistance benefits.
  • Your primary care provider, or a spiritual or religious leader.
  • Mental Health America of Illinois (MHAI) at (312) 368-9070, ext. 10.
  • Mental Health America Resource Center at (800) 969-NMHA (6642).
  • www.mhai.org for fact sheets and resources.

Did you know that chronic stress can:

  • Double your heart attack risk?
  • Increase your likelihood of developing a serious illness like diabetes or cancer?

Source Mental Health America


Previous story Top of page Section front Next story

Please visit this sponsor!
Dear Readers
'Get connected' in May and boost your mental health
Say it out loud
Keeping the golden glow on your golden years
Mental well-being vital to physical health & longevity
Depression in later life
Area schools tackle social & emotional learning needs
Stress on campus
Tips for dealing with trauma
Stress-Free zone - mental health friendly workplaces good for the bottom line
Business benefits of Mental Health friendly workplace
Mind your stress - The mind-body connection
© 2008 Daily Herald, Paddock Publications, Inc.