YOUR Health and Wellness: Tips to Manage Stress with Williamson Health

Apr 05, 2023 at 12:03 pm by RMGadmin

Three Tips to Help Identify and Manage Stress

with Williamson Health

Stress is a daily part of life, but chronic stress can have a big impact on our lives – from headaches and muscle tension to high blood pressure, depression and increased risk for heart disease. April is Stress Awareness Month, so Dr. Arthur Williams, D.O., of Williamson Health, shared a few tips to help you identify and manage the stress in your life.

Know the difference between acute and chronic stress. 
Acute stress is short-term with a clear beginning and ending point but can become chronic if the stressful event or situation stretches on indefinitely. “Acute stress is temporary, so you can drive and push through it,” Dr. Williams said. “But if that stress continues or grows, it can become chronic stress, and then you’re just running on adrenaline.” Adrenaline – the body’s natural response to stress – gives us the energy to respond and act during a stressful situation or event. But when the body stays in a state of increased stress for too long, it can lead to heart disease, obesity, insomnia, irritability, anxiety, depression and more. 
Look for the signs. 
Being aware of the ways that chronic stress can affect your mind and body is important, Dr. Williams said. These include: 
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia or disrupted sleep
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Change in appetite
  • Change in grooming habits
“Adrenaline also causes you to make a lot of bad decisions,” Dr. Williams said. “To deal with stress, some people may turn to alcohol or drugs.” While these solutions may mask the effects of stress for the moment, Dr. Williams said, they can lead to difficult consequences that only increase stress levels more. “It’s important to find healthy ways to manage stress,” he said. “When you don’t have good ways to deal with stress, you can develop hypertension, heart disease, ulcers and more. As the stress cycle continues, you just keep chipping away at your good health.” 
Find healthy ways to manage stress. 
While we can’t necessarily prevent stress from entering our lives, we can choose healthy ways to respond to it. These include: 
  • Finding someone you can talk to. Rather than keeping all your worry or anxiety inside, Dr. Williams suggested finding a way to talk about what is causing the stress in your life. While a friend or loved one can provide a listening ear, “counseling is the safest way to find a place to vent,” Dr. Williams recommended. 
  • Do something that makes you happy. “When you’re stressed, your body uses adrenaline but also a hormone called serotonin, which is the hormone that helps you not worry,” Dr. Williams said. “So, spend time in places that give you positive reinforcement and make you happy to raise serotonin levels and decrease stress.” This might include activities such as reading, meditation or listening to music.
  • Exercise. “The number one thing we recommend is exercise,” Dr. Williams said. “When you walk, you restore serotonin and dopamine in your brain and have a more positive response to life.” 
  • Practice good nutrition. Follow a healthy diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables and lean meats, making sure not to over or under-eat. 
  • Invest in your faith. “Whatever faith you have, it can be really important in helping you get oriented or reoriented during times of stress,” Dr. Williams said. “No one is absolutely free of stress or the results of stress, but certainly our ability to stay focused, forgive and seek peace in our lives will help.” 

Whether you are dealing with the physical or emotional effects of stress or another health issue, Dr. Williams and the physicians and providers of Williamson Health can help! Learn more at