Whether it be work, school or just day-to-day activities, almost everyone experiences stress. Stress is a very common feeling to have when you are overwhelmed. However, an overabundance of stress can have negative effects on both your physical and mental health. Stress awareness is focused on in April, and the main idea is to educate the public about the repercussions of heavy amounts of stress.
You don’t have to feel overwhelmed to be stressed. It can be shown in many different ways, such as irritability, sleep problems, consistent headaches or backaches, anxiety about the future and so much more. If you experience these symptoms long-term, you can expose yourself to a hormone that weakens your immune system. Along with that, your mental health can be affected as well. Though an overabundance of stress can cause anxiety and/or depression, stress is mainly dangerous when you already have a diagnosed mental illness. Our national chapter of NAMI gives the examples of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. If you have schizophrenia, stress can, “encourage hallucinations and delusions.” In bipolar disorder, it can, “trigger episodes of both mania and depression.”
Thankfully, there are easy ways to combat stress. Changing some of your physical activities, such as diet, exercise and sleep schedule, can help reduce stress. New mental habits can include allowing yourself to relax, setting aside time just for yourself and talking to someone about what has you overwhelmed.
At NAMI Greater Toledo, we offer a Creative Expressions Support Group. There are studies that link art to stress prevention, so we offer this as a way for you to express your stress in a way you can’t verbalize. It is free, fun and is a way for you to connect with your family and friends.
Brooke Crockett is a third year student at the Ohio State University with an anticipated graduation of May 2020. She is majoring in Strategic Communication and double-minoring in Professional Writing and Nonprofit Studies. She is the current marketing/PR intern for NAMI Greater Toledo.