This article was originally published on BLAC Detroit.

Stress is no respect of person. It can easily be said that women, men, and children will experience stress more than once in their lifetime. 

The reason for stress will differ for each person and understanding your triggers are critical in an effort to manage it. 

Studies show that black women tend to face higher stress levels than white people. 

As you continue reading you will learn about how stress impacts the body, specifically for Black women and how you can work to actively and positively take control. 


What is Stress? 

Stress is presented in the face of a situation. It is the body’s way of responding when what is occurring feels unmanageable. Though stress is a human response if it is prolonged for too long one can leave their immune and psychological system to face undesirable signs and symptoms. 

There are three main types of stress, these include: 

Acute Stress: This is the type of stress that presents itself at least once in an individual’s lifetime. It happens in the event you are faced with a difficult situation. There also is acute stress that can become severe. In this event varying mental health issues can become apparent. 

Acute Stress in Episodes: This is when acute stress becomes more frequent throughout the space of a short timeframe. In this event the individual is often faced with back-to-back stressful situations that brings about the feelings of anxiousness. This directly takes a toll on your physical and mental health. 

Chronic Stress: Intense and stressful periods are prolonged for a lengthier time frame than with episodic acute stress. These types of stress can cause severe impacts on one’s health leading to anxiety, heart disease, and high blood-pressure. 

Research shows that chronic stress is known to more impact the lives of Black women than other forms of stress. The critical thing about chronic stress is that it is ongoing thus leaving your body more exposed to cortisol. Continuous exposure to cortisol is linked to an increased risk of i swift, anxiety, heart disease and depression. High blood pressure is also often discussed closely to stress. 

What Causes Stress? 

Stress is caused by varying factors in life. Some chronic forms of stress include natural disasters, illness, chronic pain, accidents, relational  stressors( marriage issues, child issues, abuse), and finding little time between work to find joy fulfillment. 

Black Women and Stress 

Numerous studies have shown that black women are being directly impacted by high levels of stress. As a result, a black women in comparison to other races life expectancy is relatively shorter. 

The black woman is known for her strength and how she is able to show regardless. Is this always healthy and in her best interest, not necessarily. However, there are some good ways that can be incorporated by the black woman to lessen her impact. 

Here are eight ways to consider as a black woman when placed in stressful situations whether small or great. 

Take breaks: Women are known to convincing themselves that they will take a break as soon as they complete a specific task. Often this is not the case and task after task that becomes complete, they convince themselves that they will rest when they are home. This is the leading cause of the building of chronic stress. 

However, by taking a break you are able to give your body the rest it needs and causes cortisol levels to balance and remain in healthy zones. This will help you to better complete the tasks at hand when you head back to them without the negative impacts on the mind and body. 

  1. Exercise: Being physically active is one of the best ways to ward of the negative impacts of stress on the body. It allows you to be more alert and efficient with the tasks at hand to be completed whether at home or work. It also works to keep the organs in your body in tip top shape thus able to counter the presence of stressors when they do present themselves.
  2. Spiritual Devotion: Spending time in prayer and meditation is a great way to unwind and centre self. It rids the mind of destructive stressful habits that are known to break you down emotionally, mentally and physically.  
  3. Nutrient Rich Diet: Eat foods rich in vitamins and minerals that will nourish the body to manage the varying stressors that present themselves. 
  4. Therapy: Speaking with someone you trust is critical to counter stress in your life. Spend the time to connect with a mental health professional who can guide you to be mentally and physically healthy. 
  5. Socialize: Spending time with family and friends are critical part of your overall sanity and well-being. Set aside family and friend time via phone call and meting in person. 
  6. Breaks from social media: Balancing stress may require identifying low-key stressors like social media. Try to get out of the house and get some fresh air by finding ways to spend more time with friends, family and loved ones in person.
  7. Self-care: Spending time with yourself is critical for you being well. Set aside time to do things you love and really learn to connect and love yourself

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