Managing Stress: Good for Your Health

We all know what it’s like to feel stressed, and we all deal with it differently, but how much stress is too much? Your body will let you know when you’re overstressed with muscle tension, sweaty palms, or difficulty sleeping. You might feel worried, fearful, fatigued, irritable, or have a hard time concentrating. These can be the signs of stress, but the consequences can be much larger, both on your life and those around you.

The solution is to keep your stress under control with stress management skills. Mike went through a period of high stress. He was laid off from his job and running out of savings. The financial strain was keeping him up at night. He was irritable and tense, and even had digestive problems. At the VA, Mike got help finding ways to manage his stress, such as thinking differently about his problems and making time for hobbies and activities like walking his dog.

The physical activity helped Mike relax and be mindful of his stress, and he learned some new problem-solving skills. He focused on potential solutions, and not just the problems, even progress, like visualizing himself starting a new job. Getting exercise and thinking positively helped Mike get back into the job market. Finding ways to physically relax can be extremely helpful.

Joe was feeling detached from his grandkids, as his aches and pains were keeping him from keeping up. But since he took relaxation classes at his VA and started doing light physical activity at home, Joe has found that he feels better, both physically and emotionally, and is able to enjoy more time with his family.

Relationship problems– we’ve all had them. George and Vickie’s relationship was suffering due to time-management-related stresses– working late, arguing over who would pick up the kids, and spending their only time together in silence.

Time constraints led the Johnsons to stop cooking meals, and their new fast-food diet took its toll on their wallets and their waists. The Johnsons took a stress-management class at the VA and learned that making a plan– and sticking to it– could ease their stress. They used problem-solving skills to determine who would pick up the kids and make dinner on which days, and in the process, they made time to go on walks together. They learned no matter how challenging life becomes, help is available.

To learn more about how to manage stress, talk with your healthcare provider or visit VA healthcare is defining excellence in the 21st century.


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