Stress: Action is Key

It's National Stress Awareness Day and a friend posted a good reminder that identifying stress is an important first step. But then, we have to take a step forward to deal with that stress. Action is key.

So how do we manage the stress that will inevitably come our way? Some people find relief by unplugging from social media, spending time pursuing a hobby, exercising, meditating or being outside in nature.

For me, friends help me de-stress. A Washington Post article says strong relationships breed better health with benefits that include resilience against heart disease and a longer life.

I don’t know about you, but when life gets stressful, one of the first things that goes is my time with friends. Experts say prioritizing relationships is more important than ever. 

“A good friendship is a wonderful antidepressant,” said psychologist Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, director of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at the Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus. “Relationships are so powerful. We don’t always appreciate the many levels at which they affect us.”

A growing body of research suggests that good relationships actually lead to better health, the article said. Many studies have revealed biological theories that may explain what makes us healthier when we feel supported: lower blood pressure, better hormone function, stronger immune systems and possibly lower levels of inflammation.

Kiecolt-Glaser said it’s worth making a conscious effort to be the kind of friend you’d like people to be for you. That includes being supportive, being there when friends need you, having fun together and making an effort to listen, even when you’re busy or stressed out. 

There’s no denying that times are tough in farming right now. Uncertainty looms, questions remain, fears are rising. But we aren’t in it alone. And we need to remember that. Go check in on your neighbor.


Editor’s note: If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, please reach out to a mental health professional immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers 24/7 free and confidential support at (800) 273-8255.

More by Jennifer Shike:

A Little Peace in the Struggle

Nobody Sets Out to Be a Survivor: 4 Ways to Deal with Tragedy

Margin: A Mysterious Gift