It’s safe to say that the last 2 years have taken a toll on the already existent stress levels across the US and globally.
Economic challenges, political factors, racism, police brutality, and of course, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic are all factors impacting stress levels within the US. American Psychological Association (APA) states, “We are facing a national mental health crisis that could yield serious health and social consequences for years to come.1” According to the APA, “Nearly 1 in 5 adults (19%) say their mental health is worse” in October 2020 than in October 2019.1
Stress affects the functioning of the body, ranging from tight muscles to digestion, breathing, nerves, heart, and mental health. The body is naturally equipped to handle certain levels of stress on a short-term basis. However, long-term exposure to stress can cause a chronically elevated response of the "fight-or-flight" reactions in the body (hormones including adrenaline and cortisol), creating a breeding ground for various ailments in the body.2
You may have heard of relaxation methods, including exercise, walking, yoga, and meditation. Have you thought of using dance as a way of exercising and focused breathing?? Dance works a combination of body systems to help combat day-to-day stress: Increasing your muscle's flexibility and functional strength, releasing “feel-good” hormones, such as endorphins, and taking deeper breaths to get oxygen circulating through the body more efficiently. Dancing is a great way to exercise for general health, fitness, and stress relief while having a lot of fun!
If you are in immediate distress or are thinking about hurting yourself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You also can text the Crisis Text Line (HELLO to 741741) or use the Lifeline Chat on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Stress in America 2020 (American Psychological Association): https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2020/report-october#:~:text=Nearly%202%20in%203%20adults,be%20confronting%20at%20this%20moment.
O'Connor, Gail. "10 ways to de-stress anytime, anywhere: no, we're not going to tell you to light a candle or meditate for an hour. Here, real solutions for real life." Shape, vol. 25, no. 10, June 2006, pp. 104+. Gale OneFile: Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine