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Understanding What Causes Stress
The first stage in preventing
and lowering your own levels of stress is recognizing what stress
is and what the major causes of stress are.

How is Stress Affecting YOU?
How stressed out are YOU?
Let's take a look into what may
be causing your stress levels to
be where they currently are.

Develop a Stress-Relief
Action Plan

Here are some tips for staying
healthy throughout the year on campus and more.

YOUR Stress Relief PLAN : Managing Daily Habits
Knowing how to manage stress
on a day-to-day basis can be just
as tough as dealing with the
stress itself. Here is a guide to
help you along the way.

Stress Relief Products
In addition to a regular stress management program, there
are many tools available to
assist you on your path to a
stress-free lifestyle. Stress Health Network

Is Relaxing Hazardous to Your Health?

See if you recognize this scenario. After months of overtime, you prepare for your long awaited vacation by working extra hours to clear your desk. You then negotiate all the stress of travel - coping with airports and/or busy highways, packing and last minute issues. Then, you arrive at your destination only to awake the next morning with a sore throat, fatigue, earache or other warning sign that you're well on the road to becoming sick.

Why does this happen to so many of us? It's what is known as the Letdown Effect. Specifically, our bodies often become sick immediately after a period of high mental and physical stress, seeming to break down just at the point when we finally allow ourselves to relax.

Why We Get Sick
When you shift gears from a state of high activation (high energy, strong emotions) to one of low activation (feeling relaxed, calm or tired), this shift also causes the body's immune system to let down its guard. Ironically, when the body is under stress, it releases more corticosteroid hormones that help activate your body's immune system. Once the stress is over, the immune defenses are lowered, leaving you more vulnerable to illness as well as feelings of lethargy, "heaviness" and an inability to concentrate.

How to Stop the Cycle
To avoid the letdown effect, it's necessary to transition gradually between a high activity and low activity phase, so that your immune system remains fully functional. Try the steps below for the first few days after you've ended a high stress period, or at the earliest warning signs of the Letdown Effect.
#1. Keep your mind engaged. Work crossword puzzles or indulge in some other mental challenge. What's key is that you create enough energy to keep your activation level up a bit.
#2. Keep moving. Even mild exercise boosts your immune system. Take a brisk, five-minute walk, climb stairs at work or find some other way to keep moving.
#3. Indulge your interests. Spend time on a hobby or with your family as a way to stay active while beginning the relaxation process.

Do You Feel Let Down?
If you're wondering whether you're prone to the Letdown Effect, consider whether you become sick:
After resolving a huge conflict or crisis.
After a stressful meeting or completing a major project at work.
On the weekends.
After completing a long-term project.
After a long period of personal frustration.
During or just after vacation.

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