National Stress Awareness Month: Tools and Tips for Better Mental Health

(SOURCE: Family Anatomy)

Stress, while a known natural human response, has many misconceptions surrounding it and can be suppressed to the point of boiling over. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 31.1% of Americans experience an anxiety disorder at one point in life. Stress is not something to be ashamed of, and it is important to monitor for the sake of your mental health. April is National Stress Awareness month, highlighting how stress management is a crucial aspect of living a healthy lifestyle. 

While stress can be difficult to deal with, there are methods that can be used to decrease stress levels. For starters, recognizing what stress looks like for you is crucial in countering stress. These signs could include the following:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Cold hands
  • Tight muscles
  • Nervous stomach
  • Clenched teeth
  • Feeling on edge, fidgety, irritable or withdrawn

Taking time for yourself or self-care is also important to keep your stress levels regulated. NIMH created the acronym GREAT (Gratitude, Relaxation, Exercise, Acknowledge feelings and Track thoughts) to practice healthy stress coping. In self-care, you should try to do an activity to soothe your mental, emotional, physical, environmental, spiritual, recreational and social health. Do not think of this as a checklist, but more as being conscious of what space you are in. BC offers drop-in intramural activities, including yoga, which is one way to practice self-care. Additionally, when in stressful moments, viewing your stress in a different lens can help reframe and reduce your stress levels. Lastly, seeking help from trusted companions or professionals is an option available at BC. 

To help with the stress, Bellevue College has many programs and resources that BC community members can feel free to use. BC has created tips for managing finals stress and for overall stress management. Additionally, a good place to find resources or people to help with stress is the BC Counseling Center. The center offers many services. One of these services includes virtual “Let’s Talk” sessions, which offer 20-minute drop-in sessions with the BC counselors on Wednesdays from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. They also have mental health and self-care resources and crisis assistance:

Support Systems

Crisis Assistance