A certain amount of stress is associated with the tasks of daily living. When we either have too much stress, or do not manage the stress effectively, stress can interfere with functioning and quality of life.

It is important to develop skills and techniques that can counterbalance stress. Self-care is salient to improving overall health. Positive stress management can improve productivity at work, improve relationships with family and friends, and increase our sense of well-being.

Some common symptoms of stress are:

  • Sleep problems
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Stomach aches
  • Weight changes
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue

Unmanaged stress can lead to negative physical and psychological health outcomes. Stress can cause high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms, and cardiovascular disease. For this reason, stress has been referred to as the “silent killer”.

Per the CDC report, about one in ten women will have trouble conceiving. Stress is a leading cause for infertility in both men and women. Other effects of stress include weight gain and diabetes. It is also linked with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive behaviors.

Effective stress management means engaging in relaxation techniques and learning skills to respond to stressors. Many of the following also help with anxiety.

Relaxation Techniques

  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Guided imagery
  • Deep breathing
  • Body scans
  • Affirmations
  • Yoga
  • Journaling
  • Gratitude

Stress Management Skills

  • Assertiveness
  • Time management
  • Problem solving
  • Managing emotion
  • Creating boundaries
  • Building resilience
  • Improving diet and nutrition
  • Exercising regularly

Fun fact: Laughing and dark chocolate have been linked with stress reduction.