January 24, 2018
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How to Identify Stress

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A mom and her daughter visit The Coastal Children's Museum in Rockland.

ROCKLAND – Many people think that stress is always bad and that it’s everywhere so there’s no escape from it. According to the American Psychological Association, these are just two of the many common myths about stress. The fact is that stress is a normal part of life and everyone will experience it at some point. Stress can be viewed as positive or negative and is linked to the fight or flight response. Examples of positive stress may include preparing for an important meeting, moving or getting married. Examples of negative stress may include losing a loved one, a divorce or being seriously injured. Everyone looks at situations differently, so it’s important to know that others are affected differently too. Everyone has different skill levels for dealing with stress and different resources they utilize when needed.

There are both physical and emotional signs of stress. Emotional signs may include a lack of motivation, oversleeping or an inability to sleep, moodiness and depression. Physical signs may include muscle tension, headache, tightness in the chest, tiredness or the feeling of “butterflies” in the stomach. (University of Maine Bulletin #4429)

Maine Families Parent Educators work closely with families and can be a lifeline in times of stress. Emily Bernaquer, mom to a busy 3-year-old, shared a time when her trained Parent Educator, Ruth Griffin, helped her immensely. Griffin, who has been with the home visiting program for ten years, suggested to Bernaquer that when her daughter was getting fussy, she could put her in a stroller and go for a walk. Exercising can be a great stress-reliever and in this case it gave the child some different things to look at too. For others, soothing music or deep breathing may be more beneficial. The key is to find out what your stress triggers are and how you can manage the stress in healthy ways.

For more information about Maine Families or the Teen and Young Parent Program, please call the office at (207) 594-1980 or toll-free within Maine at 1-877-972-5804.

Sources cited
WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/
University of Maine: http://umaine.edu/publications/
Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/
Center for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/
Medical News Today: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/
American Psychological Association: http://www.apa.org/