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Did you know that April is Stress Awareness Month? For some people, Stress Awareness Month feels like every month. The fact is, many things can affect our stress levels in modern life: getting stuck in traffic, relationship problems, taxiing your children to multiple activities, job issues, financial strains, etc. While we can sometimes joke about our stress levels, stress is not a laughing matter when it affects our health.

At Northwest Specialty Hospital, we believe that the genuine wellness of our patients does not end with the writing of a prescription or the successful completion of a surgical procedure. Wellness is about addressing the whole person – taking care of ailments, preventing illnesses and injuries, and encouraging healthy behaviors, from diet and exercise to stress management.


Understanding the Effects of Stress

There is a certain amount of stress in everyone’s life, which is not always negative. At times, the stress imposed by a deadline or having to perform is motivating and exhilarating. But at other times, it can be almost debilitating and demotivating. 

If your stress level is at a constant high or you are not taking steps to address it in positive ways, it can have a material effect on your physical and mental well-being. Excessive stress can affect you and others around you, harming your relationships, your happiness, and your performance at work and at home.

Stress symptoms can manifest in multiple ways. From persistent headaches and muscle tension to changes in mood and sleep disturbances, the toll of stress on our health can be significant. Left unchecked, chronic stress can pave the way for severe health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, sleeping problems, obesity, and diabetes. It is essential to acknowledge that stress may be the underlying cause of many ailments, even when we attribute them to other factors.

7 Ways to Counteract Stress

Incorporating stress-relieving practices into your daily routines is imperative to mitigate the adverse effects of stress. These practices need not be elaborate or time-consuming. Simple yet effective measures can significantly improve your overall well-being. Here are some easy-to-implement strategies to consider:

  1. Engage in Physical Activity: Exercise is a powerful way to combat stress. Whether it’s a brisk walk, a yoga session, or a leisurely bike ride, physical activity stimulates the release of endorphins. Endorphins are “feel good” hormones that help our bodies fight stress. Focusing on movement can alleviate tension and improve our mood, allowing stress to dissipate.
  2. Maintain a Healthy Diet: Nourishing our bodies with wholesome foods rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can bolster our resilience against stress. Avoiding excessive caffeine, alcohol, and unhealthy eating habits like excessive snacking or junk food binges is vital in promoting both physical and mental well-being.
  3. Practice Meditation and Mindfulness: Taking time to quiet the mind through meditation can provide a profound sense of calm and balance. Whether through guided meditation, deep breathing exercises, or mindfulness practices, cultivating mindful awareness can help us navigate stress more effectively.
  4. Cultivate Social Connections: Human connection is a potent buffer against stress. Make time to visit with friends and family and engage in meaningful conversations. Participate in social activities together, not over the phone. By fostering supportive relationships, you can find solace in times of distress and share in life’s joys and sorrows.
  5. Prioritize Sleep: Getting enough sleep is critical to good health, enabling our bodies to recharge and rejuvenate. Purposefully establish a relaxing bedtime routine and create a conducive sleep environment in your bedroom. These measures can enhance the quality and duration of your sleep, bolstering your resilience to stress. Forego the television or tablet and opt for an early bedtime instead.
  6. Embrace Creativity: Engaging in creative pursuits, whether listening to music, pursuing a hobby, or journaling, offers a therapeutic outlet for self-expression. Allow yourself the freedom to explore activities that bring you joy and fulfillment, counterbalancing life’s stressors.
  7. Seek Professional Support: If stress becomes overwhelming or persists despite self-care efforts, you may benefit from the guidance of a qualified therapist or counselor. These professionals can provide valuable insights into your sources of stress and suggest effective coping strategies. Professional support can empower you to address the root causes of stress and develop effective resilience tools.


Stress Awareness Month serves as a timely reminder of the importance of prioritizing your mental and physical well-being in the face of life’s many challenges. By recognizing the tell-tale signs of stress and implementing proactive measures to manage it, you can cultivate a healthier and more resilient approach to life and achieve greater calm, peace, and vitality. The benefits will extend to your physical health and longevity.


At NWSH, we believe your health and well-being are worth investing in. Good living is about much more than getting things done; it involves enjoying life’s journey. If you notice that stress is affecting your mood and health, consider employing some of the stress-relieving actions above, and make an appointment with a family care provider at NWSH to find out if you need additional medical support to address your physical and mental health.

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