Friday, December 3, 2010

Coping with Stress in America

By Adair Parr, M.D.


survey by the American Psychological Association highlighted the negative impact that stress can have on families and children. This is an extremely important topic that affects many family caregivers, who are under a great deal of stress taking care of loved ones. More and more Americans are affected by stress. The survey indicates that many Americans feel that they are experiencing unhealthy amounts of stress. The economy is one of the main reasons. Fewer are satisfied with the ways that their employer helps employees balance work and non-work demands and many are concerned about job stability.
In addition, stress impacts the entire family. Children recognize when their parents are stressed and that could make them feel sad and worried. Nevertheless, parents frequently underestimate the impact that their own stress has on their children.

Stress affects both our mental and physical health. Some people manage stress by smoking, drinking or over-eating. That can lead to bigger problems. The study shows that Americans understand the importance of healthy behaviors like getting enough sleep, exercising and eating healthy. However, lack of time and motivation gets in the way of following through on these goals. Willpower was identified as a barrier to many healthy behaviors, even when they are recommended by a health care provider.
Managing your stress is extremely important. Stress does affect the family members you care for. There are healthy ways to manage your stress. Some suggestions are: exercising or playing sports; listening to music; spending time with friends and family; going to religious services; journaling; and practicing yoga / meditation. 


If you find that you are overwhelmed or suffering physical symptoms from stress like headache, poor appetite and insomnia, or if you are feeling depressed or suffering from chronic irritability and crying spells, you may need to see a mental health provider. The Healthy Minds website has brochures about dozens of mental health issues including early warning signs of mental illness.

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