April is Stress Awareness Month. You probably already know if you are stressed out, but do you know how stress affects physical and mental health? Here are some interesting facts from the 2015 Stress in America survey conducted by the American Psychological Association:
The top three sources of stress for adults, in order, are money, work and family responsibilities.
More than one-third of adults reported an increase in stress and 78% of adults report experiencing at least one symptom of stress.
Symptoms of stress include: feeling nervous/anxious, feeling depressed/sad, constant worrying, irritability/anger, poor eating habits, changes in sleeping patterns, upset stomach, dry mouth, headaches, muscle tension, chest pains, fatigue, inability to concentrate, forgetfulness, jitters, increased frequency of colds.
Left unmanaged, stress can result in chronic, long-term health problems. Experts recommend a variety of strategies for managing stress, including exercise, deep breathing, medication, eating well, engaging in hobbies, spending time with friends/family, getting enough sleep and balancing life.
Reading is another effective strategy for managing stress. University of Sussex researchers reported six minutes of reading to be more effective than listening to music or going for a walk, reducing stress by as much as 68%.
The next time you are feeling stressed, reach for a book.
What are your other favorite stress management strategies?