Stress Awareness Month was started in 1992 to increase public awareness of the causes and cures for chronic stress. Stress is the body’s response to a person’s perception of a threat to their well-being. A stressful event can be your car skidding out of control on an icy road, a deadline for a school project, or just plain old anxiety.
The body’s reaction to a stressful event is to release a set of hormones, including adrenaline, which causes increased heartbeat and blood circulation. This stress response is known as the "fight-or-flight" reaction. While it is a lifesaving reaction to short-term life and death situations, it is not meant to solve long-term dilemmas. Chronic stress can be bad for your physical and mental health.
Meditation is one way to reduce the effects of stress. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on your breathing and on the present, and not being distracted by problems of the past or upcoming worries. You can train yourself to dwell in the present moment.
The Free Library of Philadelphia has books, audiobooks, and videos on how to cope with stress, as well as many health-related events to help ease stress including yoga, Tai Chi, healthy cooking classes, and even our Ask-a-Nurse service, to name just a few.