April 16 is National Stress Awareness Day. Brookhaven Retreat understands the impact of stress on women’s mental and physical health and joins the healthcare community in working to prevent the damage caused by stress in women’s lives.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, chronic stress negatively affects the immune, digestive, reproductive and excretory systems. The consequences of prolonged stress can be very serious. A Spanish study found that stress increases stroke risk, and a study conducted by the Columbia University Medical Center found that those with chronic stress experience a 27 percent higher risk of heart attacks.
Stress also affects mental health. It can trigger anxiety, depression, anger and fear. It can worsen symptoms of mental illness or cause a relapse of mental health issues or substance abuse. Women with high levels of stress in their lives are less effective at emotionally regulating, and are thus less able to cope with mental health issues.
Although stress can be caused by work, family and social issues, it can also be caused by poor habits. Inadequate sleep, lack of exercise and improper diet can all contribute to heightened levels of stress. Simple lifestyle changes can manage these issues so that they do not cause physical or mental discomfort.
Brookhaven Retreat seeks to reduce external stressors in its environment so that the women in its program may overcome emotional challenges without the added burden of stress. Its emphasis on sleep hygiene, regularly scheduled physical activities and nutritional program all help women create and maintain the lifestyle changes that manage lower stress levels. When women do not suffer from chronic stress, they are able to focus clearly on treatment and overcome mental illness to build lives of wellness and success.