National Stress Awareness Month: 5 tips for easing, managing symptoms

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Stress is a natural response to life experiences, that affects almost everyone.

There's good stress that can motivate you to complete tasks, and then there's bad stress, which has the complete opposite effect. At high levels, stress can have an negative impact on your physical and mental health.

According to The American Institute of Stress, about 33% of people report feeling extreme stress, 77% of people experience stress that affects their physical health, 73% of people have stress that impacts their mental health and 48% of people have trouble sleeping because of stress.

Chronic stress can cause several symptoms and affect your overall well-being. Symptoms include irritability, anxiety, depression, headaches and insomnia.

Leadership coach, author and Mirror Vibes founder Becky Thomas, along with Stella Kalfas, the President and CEO of Mental Health Association of Greater Chicago, say there are five simple actions you can take to help manage stress.

It's important to practice the "big three," which are eating healthy, exercising and getting enough sleep.

You can also take time for reflection. Meditation, yoga and deep breathing are great ways to feel more relaxed.

It can be helpful to put your feelings on paper. Getting the thoughts out of your mind and onto paper will signal your brain that the thought is safe, and it no longer needs to hold onto it.

Talk about your problems. Confiding in a trusted friend or family member can go a long way in combating stress.

Do something you enjoy. Learning new skills and taking the time to do something you love creates an outlet to relieve stress.
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