Not all stress is bad. Stress can help protect you in a dangerous situation. But preventing and managing chronic (ongoing) stress can help lower your risk for serious health problems like heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and depression.
You can prevent or reduce stress by:
- Planning ahead
- Deciding which tasks need to be done first
- Preparing for stressful events
Some stress is hard to avoid. You can find ways to manage stress by:
- Noticing when you feel stressed
- Taking time to relax
- Getting active and eating healthy
- Talking to friends and family
What are the signs of stress?
When people are under stress, they may feel:
- Unable to focus
Stress also affects the body. Physical signs of stress include:
- Back pain
- Problems sleeping
- Upset stomach
- Weight gain or loss
- Tense muscles
- Frequent or more serious colds
Use this tool to better understand your stress.
What causes stress?
Stress is often caused by some type of change. Even positive changes, like winning a contest or getting a job promotion, can be stressful. Stress can be short-term or long-term.
Common causes of short-term stress:
- Too much to do and not enough time
- Lots of little problems in the same day, like a traffic jam or running late
- Getting lost
- Having an argument
Common causes of longer-term stress:
- Death of a loved one
- Chronic (ongoing) illness
- Caring for someone with a serious illness
- Problems at work or at home
- Money problems
What are the benefits of managing stress?
Managing stress can help you:
- Sleep better
- Control your weight
- Get sick less often and get better faster when you do get sick
- Lessen neck and back pain
- Be in a better mood
- Get along better with family and friends