National Stress Awareness Month-April 2018

Stress is a topic that people often joke about.  However, it is not a matter to be taken lightly. Stress is unfortunately one of the most common mental health issues and stress factors increasingly affect the well-being of American’s and others world-wide. According a study by the American Psychological Association, despite stress levels remaining the same in Americans from 2016 to 2017 (4.8 on a scale of 10), more individuals are reporting the effects of stress, including sleeplessness, nervous or anxiety, irritability and fatigue, back pains, stomach problems, and many other reactions.

It is normal to be stressed every once in a while. However, great amounts of stress can very negatively affect your body (and I don’t just mean the grey hair). Stress puts strain and pressure on the systems in your body making them work harder to do normal functions. “It is almost impossible to avoid stress, therefore it is very important to learn how to cope with it,” explains Juan Riestra, M.D., Medical Director of Behavioral Health Services at Mountainside Medical Center. 

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“Being able to cope with your stress will improve your quality of life in the long run,” Dr. Riestra explains. “Finding healthy ways to cope with your stress is essential to maintaining a balanced lifestyle.”   Some healthy ways to manage stress include:

  • Meditation*
  • Exercise
  • Eating healthy and well-balanced meals
  • Try to get plenty of sleep
  • Have ME time (get a massage, read a good book, etc.)
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol
  • Connect with people (support groups, clubs, a friend or family member)

If you are experiencing behavioral health concerns due to stress or other illness, our counselors are available to answer your questions at 973-429-6963.  Our team of counselors provides an around the clock, 24-hour behavioral health safety net.  If you are in a crisis, don’t hesitate to go directly to the Mountainside Medical Center Emergency Department for urgent assistance.