National Stress Awareness Day

If there is ever a day to keep it cool, calm and collected, its Wednesday, November 4, 2015. The day has been designated National Stress Awareness Day.

Stress- or the brain's response to any demand- can be positive or negative; long-term or short-term; and major, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Not all stress is bad. But chronic stress can lead to a wide array of health problems.

"Your immunity is lowered and your digestive, excretory, and reproductive systems stop working normally. Once the threat has passed, other body systems act to restore normal functioning. Problems occur if the stress response goes on too long, such as when the source of stress is constant, or if the response continues after the danger has subsided," according to the NIH.

There are several types of stress:

Routine stress: from pressures of work, family and daily responsibilities.

Sudden, negative change: such as losing a job, divorce, or illness.

Traumatic stress: caused by a  major accident, war, assault, or a natural disaster where one may be seriously hurt or in danger of being killed.

The following are steps recommended by the NIH for coping with stress:

Seek help from a qualified mental health care provider if you are overwhelmed, feel you cannot cope, have suicidal thoughts, or are using drugs or alcohol to cope.

Get proper health care for existing or new health problems.

Stay in touch with people who can provide emotional and other support. Ask for help from friends, family, and community or religious organizations to reduce stress due to work burdens or family issues, such as caring for a loved one.

Recognize signs of your body's response to stress, such as difficulty sleeping, increased alcohol and other substance use, being easily angered, feeling depressed, and having low energy.

Set priorities-decide what must get done and what can wait, and learn to say no to new tasks if they are putting you into overload.

Note what you have accomplished at the end of the day, not what you have been unable to do.

Avoid dwelling on problems. If you can't do this on your own, seek help from a qualified mental health professional who can guide you.

Exercise regularly-just 30 minutes per day of gentle walking can help boost mood and reduce stress.
Schedule regular times for healthy and relaxing activities.

Explore stress coping programs, which may incorporate meditation, yoga, tai chi, or other gentle exercises.

If you or someone you know is overwhelmed by stress, ask for help from a health professional.

If you or someone close to you is in crisis, call the toll-free, 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).