Understanding your Stress: February 22, 2019

There are many things that can cause stress. Behavioral health experts say it’s important to understand what’s causing your stress before developing ways to manage it. “The first and foremost thing to do is recognize what stress is, how you stress, what your stress signals are, what impact it has on you emotionally, physically, in your relationships, and then learn how you actually cope with it,” said Jayme Hodges, behavioral health director at Lee Health.

Many times changing our expectations can help to alleviate stress. “I expect others to do certain things. I expect them to be done a certain way. I expect myself to be able to do things. So we often work a lot on just the expectations that we have of ourselves and other people,” explained Hodges.

Understanding our own perception of things can help us to understand our reactions. “We work with people to see the flip side of that coin. Is there a different way of approaching it? Is there a different way of seeing it? Is there a different way of viewing it? Because sometimes in a situation the only thing you have control over is how you view it,” she said.

Everyone has ways of coping with stress, but once you understand the cause and your reaction to stress you can begin to develop healthier ways of coping with it. “We talk a lot about mindfulness principles. Meditation is an aspect of mindfulness. Mindfulness is also breathing exercise, muscle relaxation. In that moment of being mindful it’s just paying attention to the present moment without judgment,” Hodges said.

Developing healthy coping skills and taking time to be mindful every day can help you better react to stressful thoughts and situations. time and money— but it can also help children develop a healthy lifestyle.