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 Stress is your body’s natural response to any threat to your emotional or physical well-being. If ignored, stress can develop into more serious physical and mental illnesses such as weight gain, heart problems, anxiety, and depression. It’s important to recognize what factors causes stress and to take measures to prevent or minimize them whenever possible.

Different factors – such as illness, major life changes, work, and relationships – can trigger stress. And because everyone interprets situations differently, there is no single way to identify stressors or deal with them; causes and treatment are unique for each of us. While determining what techniques will work best for you, there are some basic tips to help you along the road to discovery.

  • Nutrition – Make sure you have a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Control portion sizes and don’t overeat.
  • Exercise – Make sure you are getting in enough physical activity every week.
    • Exercise helps you to stay in shape, maintain your weight, and supports a happy attitude.
  • Social Support – Make an effort to socialize and surround yourself with family and friends. Talk about your feelings and ask for help when you need it.
  • Relaxation – Listen to your body when it tells you to slow down or take a break. Make time for your own personal interests and hobbies
  • Avoid things that can harm you and add to the stress your body is experiencing, such as alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. If you find yourself turning to these dangerous outlets, there are resources available to help.

There are some unavoidable events in life that we have no control over, such as natural disasters and community violence, which can cause a great deal of stress. Coping after a traumatic event can be difficult but there are resources such as the Disaster Stress Hotline to help people in these situations.

More often than not, it’s possible to work through stress and eventually get back to a state of tranquility. However, if problems continue or worsen despite your efforts to de-stress, talk to a professional counselor to make sure you get the help you need. Be sure to make your mental and emotional well-being a priority.

Tweet @massgov to share your stress-relief techniques.

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