Make your mental health a priority

Make your mental health a priority

It’s no secret that mental and physical wellbeing are inextricably linked. The tie between the two has been increasingly well documented, with an abundance of studies that show, as the World Health Organization puts it, “there is no health without mental health.”

One of the main impacts to mental and physical health is stress. Stress can create the feelings of nervousness, anger, frustration, anxiety, and more, all of which impact our wellbeing. So lets dig into what stress is, how it can affect you, and ways you can reduce it.

Recognizing and understanding stress

Did you know stress is how your mind and body respond to things or events that happen around you? Events that create stress are called stressors or triggers. How our mind and body respond to those triggers is what creates stress. Surprisingly, these stress triggers can be both negative AND positive. Some examples of positive and negative triggers are:


  • Starting a new job or career
  • Buying house
  • Getting married
  • Having a baby
  • Going on a first date


  • Money, bills and expenses
  • Work-related
  • Relationship struggles
  • Responsibilities at home
  • Health problems for myself or
    family member

Remember, not all stressors affect people the same because how we respond to them is what creates the stress. However, the most important first step in managing stress in a healthy way is recognizing what triggers are causing your stress.

Types of stress

Stress can typically be broken down into two different types. Acute stress is often a quick response to an event like giving a presentation, having an argument with someone, or your body’s response to a dangerous or scary situation. Chronic stress often lasts for a much longer period, lasting for weeks or even months. This type of stress could include being a caregiver for an ill family member, an unhappy relationship, or a demanding job. If not addressed, chronic stress can be very unhealthy both mentally and physically.

Warning signs

At times, our bodies can be in a state of stress and not even know it. However, by paying attention to certain symptoms, you can identify warning signs of stress sooner and implement strategies to help reduce it. Sometimes, your warning signs of stress can also help you identify your stressor.

Some common warning signs of stress include:

  • Being irritable or short tempered
  • Nervousness or anxiousness
  • Lack of interest or motivation
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Depression or sadness
  • Muscle tightness
  • Trouble sleeping

Impacts of stress

Stress can impact the body in many ways. When the body becomes stressed, it releases hormones that cause your heart rate to increase, create muscle tension, and can impact your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Over time, if stress is not addressed or treated, it can lead to numerous health problems or unhealthy habits including:

  • Decreased immune function
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Digestive issues
  • Headaches, muscle tension and pain
  • Heart disease, heart attack and stroke
  • Sleep problems
  • Weight gain
  • Memory and concentration impairment
  • Overeating or undereating
  • Drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse
  • Isolating yourself
  • Becoming less active

When to seek professional help

  • Stress is affecting your health
  • Want to run away
  • Desire to injure yourself
  • Severely depressed
  • Think life is not worth living
  • Abusing alcohol or recreational drugs
  • Feelings are too hard to talk about

Manage stress with success

Not properly managing your stress can have a serious impact on your life, both mentally and physically. However, the goal is to create a more balanced life, especially when it comes to managing stressors and making time for self-care. There are many ways to manage stress but there isn’t one technique that works best. Experiment to find what techniques work well for you. Here are just a few coping skills that can help you better manage your stress:

Plan & prioritize – Practice time-management and plan out your schedule. Be sure to include time for things you enjoy and self-care.

Reframe your thoughts – Recognize your tendency toward negative vs. positive thoughts and look for the positive. Reflect on what is within your control and what is not.

Humor – Taking time to laugh can help release tension. Find movies, videos, articles, or even people that can put a smile on your face.

Stay connected– Keeping things to yourself can create a buildup of unhealthy stress. Find a support group, meet up with others, call a friend, keep a journal, or even find ways to volunteer in your community.

Take-home exercise

Take-home exercise

Here’s a worksheet you can download and answer at home to help you identify your triggers and coping mechanisms.

Additional Resources

Here are other apps, podcasts, and resources that may help you! As always, we encourage you to contact your Everside Health provider to learn more.

If you’d like to learn more, join our monthly Well-Being Webinar which will discuss how to design a healthy lifestyle that helps you manage stress. Registration and dates here.