Stress Awareness Month increases public awareness about the causes of stress and how to help combat it in this harried, modern-day life. Stress can filter in from various parts of life, from the workplace as well as personal relationships, and coping with and relieving it can certainly look different for each individual person.
Learning about this month can certainly help anyone who struggles to cope with their stress and those may find themselves in need of guidance and advice. So get ready to get aware and involved with Stress Awareness Month!
History of Stress Awareness Month
There have been many investigations and studies into the cause of stress and how humans tend to react to it in different ways. Back in 1936, Hans Selye began his pioneering studies into stress and developed the concept of general adaptation syndrome. But it wasn’t until the 1950s that personality types were defined, which led to many other breakthroughs in the psycho-social sciences and a better understanding of the potentially devastating effects of stress on individuals as well as society.
Stress is a widespread feeling that almost everyone will experience at one time or another in their lives. As such, millions of individuals around the world are likely to struggle with it and have their lives impacted negatively by it.
Stress can have an impact on a person’s health, whether physically, mentally or emotionally–and often it is a combination of them all! These health issues, when allowed to build up over time, could manifest themselves in issues such as anxiety and depression, hormonal problems, difficulty sleeping, high blood pressure, heart disease and much more.
Simply becoming more aware of stress and learning to apply the various coping mechanisms can certainly help an individual who is feeling overwhelmed by this emotion. In addition, it is well understood that if people become aware and there is less shame involved, then they are more likely to reach out for help when they need it.
Stress Awareness Month is held every spring, in the month of April, and its observance has been in existence since 1992. The original organization dedicated to helping with workplace stress was founded back in 1974 and then rebranded to the International Stress Management Association in 1989.
Stress Awareness Month Timeline
Yoga practices begin
With a combination of material and spiritual upliftment of humanity, yoga is often used in modern times as a counter to the effects of stress on the body and mind.
The Wisdom of the Body is published
Written by American physiologist Walter Bradford Cannon, this book contains many theories about stress, including the term “fight or flight response” and ideas around “homeostasis”.
Stress Awareness Month is established in the UK
Originally created by those in the United Kingdom to be celebrated in the month of April, Stress Awareness Month is eventually adopted in the US for the month of November.
International Stress Awareness Day begins
Founded by the International Stress Management Association, one day is specifically targeted to raise awareness about stress problems in the UK.
Stressed Documentary is released
This film takes a deep dive into stress and the emotional toll it takes on humanity and society.
How To Observe Stress Awareness Month
There are plenty of resources and helpful organizations available to help with struggles regarding stress, whether it is related to home life, work-life or various relationships. Stress Awareness Month is a time that encourages everyone to stop overlooking stress and pay more attention to its causes and effects. And then to try to do something about it! Try out some of these ideas for observing Stress Awareness Month:
Become More Aware of Stress and Stressors
The most important thing with this month is that people are focusing on their physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing. For some, this might mean putting themselves first for a change and focusing on bringing those stress levels down in whatever ways are possible.
According to the Mental Health Foundation in the United Kingdom, it seems that 74% of UK adults have had a moment where they’ve felt so stressed that they’ve been too overwhelmed or unable to cope with the situation. Not only that, but it has been estimated that between 75% and 90% of all visits to doctors are related to complaints or concerns whose root cause is stress.
Simply endeavoring to pay more attention personally to where stress comes from and its adverse effects is the perfect start to observing Stress Awareness Month.
Participate in the 30 Day Stress Awareness Challenge
One way of doing something for stress awareness month is to participate in the 30-day Stress Awareness challenge. This 30-day challenge encourages people to do one action each day that will benefit their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. This can be really helpful in changing a person’s mindset and outlook on stress, as well as finding ways to help cope with certain stresses that may become more obvious and pervasive over time. This is a great way for people to learn a lot about themselves and the particular triggers that tend to come with stress.
Practice Stress Reduction Techniques
Try out some of these simple practices that have been known to help people reduce the negative impact of stress on their lives:
- Breathing Exercises. One of the easiest ways to bust stress is by pausing to focus on the breath. Whether breathing slowly while counting, or using visualization techniques, the internet is full of ideas for reducing stress by taking everything back to the breath.
- Laugh More. Some studies have shown that people are more relaxed and have an improved mood when they practice laughing. Even when nothing is funny! Laughter yoga might be a practice worth checking out to reduce stress.
- Exercise. One of the best ways to minimize the impact of stress on the body and mind is through good, old-fashioned exercise. Sweat that stress away! It helps to improve sleep, balance hormones, increase endorphins and fosters relaxation following the workout.
- Reduce Stress Triggers. Take this month to become aware of what triggers tend to cause stress and anxiety. Is it to do with being late? Procrastinating? Terrible traffic? A messy house? Look at the ways that stress begins and then aim to resolve those with life skills such as time management, hiring help around the house, leaving the house sooner or other solutions.
Help Others Who Might Struggle with Stress
As well as doing the challenge above, there is definitely more that can be done, not only for yourself but also for other people. Talking about stress can be really helpful, and it might be worth reaching out to those you trust or seeking professional help where necessary. This is a great time to encourage others to talk about their feelings, too, and always try to be there for those individuals who may appear to be overwhelmed. People all tend to cope with stress differently, so sharing personal experiences of coping might also help someone else.
Stress Awareness Month FAQs
Is stress bad for you?
Not all stress is bad as it can be helpful in helping people to maintain deadlines, meet goals and accomplish projects. But too much unchecked stress can take its toll on one’s health.
How is stress a problem?
Ongoing stress that is left untreated can be the cause of many physical and mental health issues, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, anxiety, depression and more.
What is stress management?
Stress management is a combination of strategies that can help people to mitigate the negative effects of stress and live a healthier life.
Are stress and anxiety the same thing?
Stress and anxiety are both emotional responses to problems, but stress tends to be external while anxiety is usually internal.
What does stress do to the brain?
Some studies show that severe stress can cause a buildup of cortisol in the brain, wearing down its ability to function properly for things like blood sugar regulation, synapse regulation as well as killing brain cells and even reducing the size of the brain.