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Milestone Wellness

April is National Stress Awareness Month and being aware of the stressors in your life and managing them effectively can make a huge difference in how you feel and in your overall health.

Stress can be defined as the brain's response to any demand. It is how your body reacts to mental, physical or emotional circumstances. Stress disturbs the normal functioning of the body. All of us experience stress. The human body is designed to experience stress and react to it. But stress is not always negative. Stress can be positive, keeping us alert and ready to avoid danger. Stress becomes negative when a person faces continuous challenges without relief or relaxation between challenges. As a result, the person becomes overworked and stress-related tension builds.

There are at least 3 different types of stress all which carry physical or mental health risks:

ROUTINE STRESS // Relates to the pressures of work, family and other daily responsibilities
CHANGE STRESS // Brought on by a sudden negative change, such as losing a job, divorce or illness
TRAUMATIC STRESS // Experienced in an event like a major accident, war, or a natural disaster, where one may be seriously hurt or in danger of being killed.

Everybody may feel stress in different ways, but the body responds to all types of stress similarly. For example, some people experience mainly digestive symptoms, while others may have headaches, sleeplessness, depressed mood, anger and irritability. People under chronic stress are prone to more frequent and severe viral infections, such as the flu or common cold, and vaccines, such as the flu shot, are less effective for them. Part of managing and coping with stress is RECOGNIZING STRESS.

Today's Takeaway: Challenge yourself to be more aware of your stress. Recognize it, recognize what triggered it, and write down the triggers.

Sources: http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/effects-of-stress-on-your-body; http://gammy-livelifelarge.blogspot.com/2011/09/stress-someone-rightly-said-that-stress.html; http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml