Resource: The American Psychological Association (APA) on Stress

Monthly Resources – April 2023
Published March 23, 2023

The American Psychological Association (APA) on Stress

The American Psychological Association (APA) has devoted numerous articles to the topic of Stress. A few of those are:

(Chronic) Stress effects on the body

  • Muscle tension that can lead to further physical ailments
  • Possible respiratory distress
  • Risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Risk of compromised immune system
  • Possible disruption of gastrointestinal system
  • Possible disruption of reproductive system

What is the difference between stress and anxiety?

  • Stress results from an external trigger (stressor).
  • Anxiety involves excessive worry, independent of a stressor.

Healthy ways to handle life’s stressors

  1. If responsibilities are too numerous
    – reduce them
    – relax standards
    – request help
  2. Cultivate social support
    – offer support
    – ask for support
  3. Employ healthy nutrition
  4. Relax muscles
  5. Meditate
  6. Ensure enough sleep
  7. Exercise
  8. Enjoy nature
  9. Continue pleasurable activities
  10. Reframe thinking:
    – understand that thoughts influence emotions
    – emotions influence behaviors
    – keep expectations reasonable
    – accept what cannot be changed

How to help children and teens manage their stress

  • Model and facilitate healthy coping
    • Sleeping enough (Children, 9 – 12 hours, depending upon age; and Teens, 8 – 10 hours)
    • Exercise (60 minutes per day, ages 6 to 17)
    • Talk through stressful situations and solutions
    • Schedule fun and quiet times
    • Spend time outdoors
    • Use writing to express gratitude as well as stressful situations and solutions
    • Practice mindfulness
  • Encourage them to solve their own problems whenever possible
  • Teach them to think critically about advertising and other media messages
  • Challenge negative thinking
  • Recognize signs of stress that is excessive or not managed well
    • Irritability
    • Behavior changes
    • Sleeping problems
    • Neglecting responsibilities
    • Eating changes
    • Frequent illness

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