How to embrace and manage stress

The April 27 symposium at MCR helps women take charge of their health by learning mindfulness and stress management.
April 18, 2017

We all have stress, and we will never completely rid ourselves of it. In fact, some groups —  younger generations and women — are reporting higher stress levels than decades before, according to the American Psychological Association.

Though the human protective fight-or-flight stress response and its relationship to lifestyle overload and disease has been studied since the early 1900s, few people have the tools to manage stress.

Deanna O’Connell, registered dietitian and UCHealth Community Health educator, teaches tangible tools for mind and body practices that can bring comfort and regulation to the nervous system, emotions and stress level.

“We can’t totally eliminate stress, so what we need to learn is our triggers and ways to manage it,” O’Connell said.

The body responds to stress by releasing stress hormones, and these hormones can make blood pressure, heart rate and blood-sugar levels go up, according to the U.S. Office of Women’s Health. Long term, this can lead to health issues such as heart disease, obesity, depression and anxiety, as well as menstrual and skin problems.

“Cultivating self-awareness with these mind-body practices can enhance both our health and overall sense of well-being,” she said. “Stress affects our bodies in different ways — emotional, mental, physical manifestations that can cause health problems.”

In the educational session, O’Connell will teach about self-awareness, while Kristin Glenn, MBA, will discuss strategies to get through life’s challenges using the BrainWise™ curriculum.

In the experimental session, Stesha Irons, RN, CNM, MS, will guide people though exercises they can integrate into their daily schedule at work, while Jen Strating, MS, will teach relaxation techniques.

About the author

Kati Blocker has always been driven to learn and explore the world around her. And every day, as a writer for UCHealth, Kati meets inspiring people, learns about life-saving technology, and gets to know the amazing people who are saving lives each day. Even better, she gets to share their stories with the world.

As a journalism major at the University of Wyoming, Kati wrote for her college newspaper. She also studied abroad in Swansea, Wales, while simultaneously writing for a Colorado metaphysical newspaper.

After college, Kati was a reporter for the Montrose Daily Press and the Telluride Watch, covering education and health care in rural Colorado, as well as city news and business.

When she's not writing, Kati is creating her own stories with her husband Joel and their two young children.