Chilling Out on Stress Awareness Day - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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November 7, 2018

Chilling Out on Stress Awareness Day

The only thing constant in life is change, and many of those changes can put you at risk for a stress-induced health breakdown. When stressors build up and life events — even the “small” ones — become unmanageable and overwhelming, serious health problems can result. Although the susceptibility to stress varies from person to person, common conditions caused by stress include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Susceptibility to heart disease
  • Immune system suppression
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Asthma attacks
  • Industrial accidents

Carole Spiers, Chair of the UK’s International Stress Management Association (ISMA), founded International Stress Awareness Day (INSAD) in 1998. Over the last 20 years, this campaign that was designed to bring awareness to stress in the workplace has gathered an international following. Countries all around the world participated in 2017’s most successful event to date.

International Stress Awareness Day is observed annually on the first Wednesday in November. This year it’s celebrated on November 7, 2018. In honor of the event’s 20th anniversary, the whole week of November 5-9 will be devoted to stress awareness.

In addition to helping employers and employees establish stress-reduction programs within their organizations, the goal is also to support individuals in looking after their mental health and emotional well-being on a daily basis. One way to do that is to identify and reduce the stress factors in your life. Easier said than done?

De-stressing on 11/7/18

If you need some help identifying the biggest stress triggers in your life, take advantage of the ISMA’s online Chatbot. This all-day stress helpline will be staffed by ISMA Stress Advisors who are there to provide a listening ear to anyone suffering from stress. They'll offer guidance on where you can go for help and support.

Once you’ve brought awareness to some of your stressors, celebrate the day by taking one or more of the following self-nurturing, restorative actions.

Turn off the phone and tablet. In keeping with 2018’s INSAD theme — “Does Hi-Tech Cause Hi-Stress?” — consider taking this one day to unplug from technology. See if you can discover some restorative and natural ways to relieve stress. Perhaps a vigorous mountain hike or extra-long bike ride, or maybe a two-hour massage and Epsom salt soak? Invite a few of your favorite friends to join you for an old-fashioned picnic at a local park or lake.

Let the outdoors calm you. Call upon the healing powers of time in nature to soothe your soul on Stress Awareness Day. “Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings,” reports the University of Minnesota. Exposure to nature lifts your spirits while also “reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.”

Take a sunshine study break. The American Heart Association suggests that if you’ve got reading materials or coursework to ingest, get outside. Studying under a blue sky can enhance your cognitive abilities, including memory and problem solving. You’ll probably retain the info you’re studying far better than if you were working under the glare of fluorescent lights.

Laugh your stress away. You know how you always feel better after a vigorous belly laugh? The Mayo Clinic reports on some of the positive things laughter can do for you physically and emotionally.

Short-term benefits of laughter:

  • Enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
  • Activates and relieves your stress response for a relaxed feeling.
  • Stimulates circulation and aids muscle relaxation, both of which soothe physical symptoms of stress.

Long-term effects of laughter:

  • Positive thoughts improve your immune system by releasing neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
  • Eases pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.
  • Makes it easier to cope with difficult situations and helps you connect with other people.
  • Helps lessen your depression and anxiety and makes you feel happier.

If you’d like to learn more about professions that enable you to serve wholeheartedly and faithfully in your life’s work or want to learn more about a biblically based, Christ-centered education at Geneva, we’d love to chat with you. For more information on how Geneva College can help you pursue your education goals, please phone us at 855-979-5563 or email web@geneva.edu.