Stress Awareness Month: Why Now is a Great Time to Manage Your Stress (and How)

Stress Awareness Month: Why Now is a Great Time to Manage Your Stress (and How)

Apr 16 2024

April has been recognized as Stress Awareness month since 1992. While some stress is healthy, it’s important to know how to relieve stress and when to seek help.

Stress is something everyone experiences. In observance of Stress Awareness Month, ThinkHealth addresses the topic of stress with healthy ways to help manage it.

What is stress and why is important to talk about?

Stress is the physical or mental response to an external cause. Everyone experiences it at some point in their life. Both negative and positive life events can cause stress. For example, both getting married, and getting divorced can cause stress.

Here’s where it gets interesting: Stress, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. Sometimes stress helps motivate us or spurs positive changes in our behavior. However, unmanaged chronic stress can have a negative impact on your physical and mental health.

The good news is that there are several simple, healthy ways to help reduce your stress levels. While there is no one size fits all solution with it comes to stress relief, no matter what you need, there are several simple, healthy solutions you can try to help reduce your stress levels.

Ways to manage stress in a healthy way:

  • Exercise more.
  • Improve your diet.
  • Practice good sleep habits.
  • Do breathing exercises such as 4-7-8.
  • Relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness, or meditation.
  • Write in a journal.
  • Listen to music.
  • Laugh more.
  • Spend more time with your friends.
  • Seek the support of your loved ones.
  • Set goals and priorities.
  • Participate in an activity you enjoy.
  • Avoid using drugs or alcohol to cope.

Download an app.

Apps like Headspace or Calm can help individuals with things like stress reduction, mindfulness, and meditation. Many apps offer a personalized experience, so you can focus on the aspects of stress that most affect – or most appeal – to you. Right now, Priority Health offers access to the myStrength app to all Michiganders for Free. The free trial goes through June 30. If you’re curious whether or not an app can help you, you still have time to give myStrength a try.

Priority Health members have free access to the Teladoc Health Mental Health app, formerly myStrength, as part of their mental health benefits. This tool to helps members manage stress and bolster mental health.  All Priority Health members can access the tool here or through their member account.

When to seek additional help

Sometimes, stress can become too much for us to manage alone. If your stress begins to interfere with your daily life, or if you start to avoid things you used to enjoy, it’s time to consider seeking additional support from your provider or mental health professional.

If you’re a Priority Health member, you have mental health and substance use disorder professionals available to help and you don’t even have to call your primary care provider first. Simply call 616.464.8500 or 800.673.8043, Monday through Thursday, 8am to 5pm or Friday 9am to 5pm and have your membership card nearby to verify your coverage. Someone will assist you in understanding your benefits and getting the help you need. All calls are confidential.

Not a Priority Health member? Check with your health plan provider or call 211 for statewide support in Michigan. Remember, everyone experiences stress. Furthermore, not all stress is bad. But if you begin to feel your stress levels rise, you can manage your stress levels with the right knowledge, resources and methods out there. Good luck!