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  • Writer's pictureJohnson Behavioral Health Group

One Step at a Time: A Journey to Stress Awareness and Wellness

Updated: Apr 16

A lot of people talk about anxiety, depression, and trauma with serious connotations of imminent threats or grave dangers, but never stress. Discussions about stress tend to be sidelined despite its presence being so prevalent and pervasive in our lives, so much so that it’s often brushed off as an inevitable part of growing up like it’s something we can simply shrug off and toss aside because it’s “normal,” or worse… it’s “nothing.”

However, if there’s one thing we must remember, stress is one of the most obvious means of communication our body uses to convey something. And when it happens, we need to take a moment to listen to it. We need to listen to the state of our bodies.

#LittleByLittle: Stress Awareness Month 2024

This April, the world recognizes this month as an avenue to promote and spread awareness about stress. “Stress Awareness Month 2024: #LittleByLittle highlights the long-term and life-changing impacts of small yet consistent efforts we can make toward self-care and stress management to fight stress and its underlying negative effects on our physical and mental well-being.

What “really” is Stress Awareness?

Stress awareness is not just recognizing you’re in distress and understanding how you feel, but also knowing its negative impact on your health and overall well-being. To further emphasize the importance of stress awareness, it is being aware and knowledgeable of the consequences on your physical and mental health, emotional state, behavior, relationships, and daily life.

Benefits of Stress Awareness

Stress Management: With increased stress awareness, you can manage your stress and choose what’s best for you to minimize its negative impacts. You are also better equipped to recognize its early signs and take proactive steps to manage stress effectively by using coping strategies that work for you.

Improved Health Outcomes: You can reduce more health-related problems caused by stress such as mental health illness, cardiovascular issues, digestive problems, and weakened immune function.

Enhanced Well-Being: Now that you are aware and knowledgeable about stress and its impacts on yourself and the people around you, it enables you to prioritize self-care activities and adopt healthy coping mechanisms. As a result, you can experience greater and enhanced well-being, a healthier lifestyle, and better relationships.

Increased Productivity: Stress is destructive, distracting, and demotivating, so it really messes up your productivity. But with stress awareness, instead of stressing over stress, you can spend more time on more important things you need to work on, or, at least, you can better understand your stressors and apply coping mechanisms more effectively.

Recognizing the Signs of Stress

Symptoms of stress can manifest in many different ways and vary from person to person. What seems stressful to other people may not be as stressful to you. We have different tolerance levels for stress and different coping mechanisms. But some common signs of stress include:

  1. Physical symptoms: headaches, muscle tension, fatigue, and digestive issues.

  2. Emotional symptoms: irritability, anxiety, depression, and mood swings.

  3. Cognitive symptoms: memory problems, inability to concentrate, and racing thoughts.

  4. Behavioral symptoms: changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, social withdrawal, and substance abuse.

However, always keep in mind that they are as varied as our fingerprints. We each have our own capacity to handle stress and distinct methods for navigating and managing its challenges. That’s why discussing and spreading awareness about stress is just as important as talking about mental health, as stress often acts as a precursor to more serious conditions. In many cases, mental health struggles find their roots in prolonged or unaddressed stress.

This makes it more crucial for everybody to prioritize education about stress management and intervention efforts to promote better mental health outcomes, especially in today’s fast-paced world. From the pressure we experience at work to other challenges we endure in our personal and daily lives. Sometimes, it’s even easier to find ourselves overwhelmed by the demands of daily life than to recognize stress and how it’s affecting our overall well-being. We become so entangled in the hustle and bustle of our lives that we neglect to acknowledge the weight of stress until it’s already bearing down on us.

Stress is a silent intruder. It creeps into every aspect of our lives and messes with our physical health, mental clarity, emotional stability, and social life without us even realizing it. But with stress awareness and stress management, you can effectively fight the destructive effects of stress even before they lead to more serious conditions. If stress becomes more uncontrollable, early intervention and professional support are critical to prevent further harm and provide effective coping strategies.


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