The Basics

You can prevent or lessen stress by:

  * Planning ahead
  * Preparing for stressful events

Some stress is hard to avoid. You can find ways to manage stress by:

  * Taking time to relax
  * Getting active and eating healthy
  * Talking to friends and family

What are the Signs of Stress?

When people are under stress, they may feel:

  * Worried
  * Irritable
  * Depressed
  * Unable to focus

Other signs of stress include:

  * Headaches
  * Back pain
  * Problems sleeping
  * Upset stomach
  * Weight gain or loss
  * Tense muscles

Take this quiz to better understand your stress

What Causes Stress?

Any unexpected change in life can be stressful. Running late, getting lost, or having an argument can all cause short-term stress.

Changes that cause stress can be good or bad, such as discrimination, a promotion at work, divorce or marriage, illness, or money problems.

Our bodies react to change with faster heartbeats, tense muscles, sweating, and increased blood pressure. Learn more about how stress affects the body.

The Benefits

Managing stress can help you:

  * Sleep better
  * Control your weight
  * Lessen neck and back pain
  * Get along better with family and friends
  * Concentrate

It’s important to stay positive. Being prepared and in control of your situation will help you feel less stress.

Take Action!

Follow these 8 tips for preventing and managing stress:

Plan Your Time

Think ahead about how you are going to use your time. Write a do-to list and decide which tasks are the most important. Prioritize. Be realistic about how long things will take.

Prepare

Prepare ahead of time for stressful events like a job interview or presentation. Picture the event in your mind. Stay positive. Imagine what the room will look like and what you will say. Have a back-up plan.

Relax With Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is a good way to relax.

Relax Your Muscles

Stress causes tension in your muscles. Try stretching or taking a hot shower to help you relax. You can do these stretches sitting down at work or at home.

Get Active

Physical activity can help prevent and manage stress. It can also help relax your muscles and improve your mood. Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes of activity a week. Be sure to exercise for at least 10 minutes at a time. Do strengthening activities (like sit-ups or lifting weights) at least 2 days a week.

Eat Healthy

Give your body plenty of energy by eating fruits, vegetables, and protein.

Talk to Friends and Family

Tell your friends and family if you’re feeling stress. They may be able to help.

Get Help if you Need it

A therapist or mental health professional can help you deal with stress, especially if your stress doesn’t go away or keeps getting worse. Over time, stress can lead to serious problems like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or anxiety. These conditions can be treated with talk therapy (“psychotherapy”) or medicines. If you are feeling down or hopeless, talk to a doctor about depression.

Learn how to eat healthy and get active to manage stress. Learn more about how you can lower your risk of heart disease.

What do you want to do today?

  * Get active-go for a walk during the day.
  * Take a hot shower or bath.
  * Take a few slow, deep breaths.
  * Talk to a friend or loved one about how you are feeling.