To Your Health
February, 2023 (Vol. 17, Issue 02)
Melt Away the Stress
By Editorial Staff
While your mental health may seem like it takes the biggest hit when faced with stress, your physical health can also suffer, particularly if you're unable to deal with stress over the long term.
Headaches, fatigue, sleep issues, GI problems, panic attacks and more can all be caused by stress.
For young adults, these health consequences can be magnified – both because of their relative lack of experience handling stress and the increasingly high-stress pressures they face these days (economy, politics, social media, etc.).
The good news: Research suggests young adults can manage their stress with a technique called "proactive coping." One recent study, involving a group of younger adults (ages 18-36) and a group of older adults (ages 60-90) found that "proactive coping" – anticipating potential stressors and thinking about how to reduce their impact – benefited younger adults, but not older adults. A second study, involving adults ages 19-86, found that younger adults (ages 19-36) who engaged in proactive coping frequently were less likely to report physical symptoms on stressful days compared to younger adults who engaged in proactive coping less frequently. As with the first study, proactive coping did not appear to impact older adults. Both studies appear in the research journal Forecasting.
Ever heard the phrase, "Knowing is half the battle"? In a sense, that's the first step in proactive coping: understanding what stressors lie ahead. Step two, of course, is thinking about how to prevent or reduce the impact of those stressors on your life. If you have high levels of daily stress and/or have difficulty managing it, ask your doctor for advice – before you experience health issues because of it.