Ever feel like you spend most of your days stressed out? If so, you are not alone. According to a national poll, at least 25 percent of Americans admit to suffering from moderate stress. The effects may feel primarily emotional, but stress can actually cause a variety of problems for your overall health and wellbeing. Stress can even contribute to dental issues, as it can cause subconscious teeth grinding which can damage teeth, or dry mouth, which can lead to cavities and gum disease. Fortunately, there are several healthy ways to better cope with the stress. Since this April marks the 22nd observance of Stress Awareness Month, it’s actually a great time to learn more about managing your stress!
Why Is Stress Management So Important?
It’s almost impossible to eliminate all stress from one’s life, but there are many ways to cope with it in a way that is healthy and beneficial. There are also many compelling reasons to learn how to do so.
For instance, chronic stress can increase the risk of developing heart problems, cause negative changes to the brain’s chemistry, and cause chronic diseases. Many people also develop digestive issues, headaches, and depression as a result of unmanaged stress.
Positive Ways to Deal with Stress
What can you do to manage the stress that occurs in your own life? Some of the strategies for coping might seem surprisingly easy:
- When you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, remind yourself to take deep breaths. This can be incredibly beneficial and relaxing, even when emotions are running high.
- Exercise does the body good. Even a simple walk around your neighborhood or a nearby park, can help to relive stress. Muscles tend to tighten during stress or anxiety; exercise helps loosen the muscles, and restore your body’s sense of calm.
- Talk to someone you trust about what is stressing you out. Whether that means speaking with a close friend or a counselor, it can be incredibly helpful to express how you’re feeling, particularly if life circumstances, such as job stresses, big changes, etc. are the cause of your stress.
- Try not to dwell on things you cannot change. Instead focus on making positive differences in your life, where you can, and letting go of anxiety about matters you cannot control. (Keep in mind that if health issues are the cause of your stress, you need to address those, promptly, with your medical doctor(s) and/or your dentist.)
- Even when life is busy, it’s important to make time for leisure activities. In addition to exercise, there are a number of other things you can do to help manage stress. For some people, mediation or yoga is helpful. Others may prefer to sit down with a good book and a cup of tea. Taking up a new hobby can also be beneficial!