Stress is the body's way of responding to any kind of demand or pressure that is overwhelming for a person, according to Army Community Service officials.

Those stressors can come in many different forms and in various settings.

Thankfully for Soldiers and spouses on post, the ACS Family Advocacy Program has a stress management class that teaches the positive and negative side effects of stress, and how to deal with them in a healthy manner.

"The first thing we talk about is identifying your stress," said Carelease Kouneski, Family Advocacy Educator. "What stresses you out the most? Most people have one specific stressor, so we focus on that."

Common side effects of stress are depression, anger, headaches, hypertension, irritability and even weight change.

Which side effect a person acquires varies.

"It depends on the kind of person you are and how you deal with your stress," said Kouneski. "For instance if someone has depression, exercising, checking the way you eat and balancing your diet can help deal with the depression."

The workplace is an area that can cause stress for anyone. A heavy workload, or not communicating well with coworkers can lead to a person feeling overly stressed.

However, prioritizing and face-to-face communication can help ease workplace pressure.

"For me, personally, I have a lot of meetings, so I like to make a list of things I need to do and what the deadlines are for those tasks," Kouneski said. She also requests face-to-face meetings to clarify unclear expectations.

There are stressors in the home for parents as well, like a toddler that is being potty trained, or a teenager who likes to see what he or she can get away with behavior-wise.

Setting boundaries and being consistent in how the child is disciplined helps in easing stress because the child knows how it needs to behave.

"Don't let the child get away with a behavior once and another time try to enforce discipline for the same behavior," said Kouneski. "Both parents need to be on the same plane and agree this is how we are going to discipline our child or children."

There are healthy ways of coping with stress and diet and exercise is one of the main ones. Kouneski recommends bringing a healthy lunch to work instead of going out to eat and bringing healthy snacks like fruit and vegetables to work can help ease stress as can yoga and other forms of aerobics.

Telling someone no when they ask you do something you don't want to do is another healthy way of coping with stress.

"A lot of people are people pleasers," Kouneski said. "So, just telling a person 'No,' can make them feel better."

There are counseling options available to residents on post who feel they have come to point they cannot handle their stress issues alone.

"We are fortunate on post to have the military family and life consultant which is a short-term counselor who can deal with not so severe cases," said Kouneski. "(Residents) can see the chaplain, or people who need more intense therapy can go to the hospital and get counseling."

It is also important for people who are stressed out to remember there are better days ahead.

"Every cloud has a silver lining," said Kouneski. "Everything (in life) is not definitive."

Page last updated Thu February 16th, 2012 at 11:18