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Stress is an inevitable part of life. Everyone feels stressed out now and then. It's a normal emotional and physical reaction to a demand or challenge that makes you feel overwhelmed or out of control. 

There are three main types of stress:

  • Routine stress caused by the daily challenges of balancing work, family and other responsibilities.
  • Stress caused by negative changes in your life such as divorce, unemployment or illness.
  • Traumatic stress caused by the threat of severe injury or death.

Stress affects each of us differently, regardless of its type. For some, it may prompt digestive issues and headaches. Others may experience mood swings, anger and irritability. If those feelings are not addressed, chronic severe stress can increase inflammation and lead to many serious health conditions, including heart disease, arthritis, cancer and mental health issues.


Here are five tips to manage your stress from the National Institute of Mental Health. 

Tip 1: Know Your Signs

The first step in de-stressing your life is recognizing the signs that you’re becoming overstressed. The signs vary for everyone but may include:

  • Changes in appetite, energy and interests
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty sleeping or recurring nightmares
  • Increased use of tobacco, alcohol or other substances
  • Worsening of health conditions

Once you know your red flags, you can take steps to manage your stress before it becomes overwhelming to handle.


Tip 2: Step it Up

Regular exercise doesn't just protect your physical health. It's good for your mental health as well. Setting aside 30 minutes for a walk or some other form of physical activity can help reduce your stress and improve your mood.


Tip 3: Just Say No

Set realistic goals and priorities. Then, decide what needs to be done right now and what can wait or not be done at all. Learn to say no when appropriate and don't take on more than you can handle. It's ok to put yourself first. Remember to focus on your accomplishments, not what’s left on your to-do list.


Tip 4: Build Connections

Friends and family members can be a robust support system that helps you cope with life's challenges. Reach out to them regularly to create your own personal community of support.


Tip 5: Get Help When Needed

Talk to a health care professional if stress starts affecting your health or mental wellbeing. Signs that you may need professional help include:

  • Inability to complete daily tasks and responsibilities
  • Symptoms that last for two weeks or more
  • Using drugs or alcohol to cope

Behavioral Health Care

Catholic Health offers comprehensive behavioral health care services across Long Island.

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