The Basics: Overview
Not all stress is bad. But chronic (ongoing) stress can lead to health problems.
Preventing and managing chronic stress can help lower your risk for serious conditions like heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and depression.
You can prevent or reduce stress by:
- Planning ahead
- Deciding which tasks need to be done first
- Preparing for stressful events
Some stress is hard to avoid. You can find ways to manage stress by:
- Noticing when you feel stressed
- Taking time to relax
- Getting active and eating healthy
- Talking to friends and family
The Basics: Signs and Health Effects
What are the signs of stress?
When people are under stress, they may feel:
- Unable to focus
Stress also affects the body. Physical signs of stress include:
- Back pain
- Problems sleeping
- Upset stomach
- Weight gain or loss
- Tense muscles
- Frequent or more serious colds
Stress is different for everyone. Use this tool to better understand your stress.
The Basics: Causes
What causes stress?
Change is often a cause of stress. Even positive changes, like having a baby or getting a job promotion, can be stressful.
Stress can be short-term or long-term.
Common causes of short-term stress:
- Needing to do a lot in a short amount of time
- Experiencing many small problems in the same day, like a traffic jam or running late
- Getting lost
- Having an argument
Common causes of long-term stress:
- Death of a loved one
- Chronic (ongoing) illness
- Caring for someone with a serious illness
- Problems at work or at home
- Money problems
The Basics: Benefits of Lower Stress
What are the benefits of managing stress?
Over time, chronic stress can lead to health problems. Managing stress can help you:
- Sleep better
- Control your weight
- Get sick less often and feel better faster when you are sick
- Have less neck and back pain
- Be in a better mood
- Get along better with family and friends