By Brittany Carlson, Belvoir EagleMarch 29, 2013
Stress affects the body and emotions, but it also affects the mind.
According to Donita McDonald, Army Community Service stress management class instructor, a person's mind, body and spirit will give signs when stress (which can be good or bad) becomes distress.
Some mental signs of stress include poor concentration, forgetfulness, pessimism, confusion and careless errors.
In her quarterly class, McDonald teaches that keeping a mental and spiritual balance can mitigate stress. Taking a vacation -- or even small breaks from work -- having a sense of humor, seeking social support, reading for pleasure, praying or meditating are all recommended ways to keep stress from reaching a dangerous level.
For more information on the stress management class, call McDonald at (703) 805-2561.
There is also spiritual stress, according to Chap. (Maj.) Charles Scott, Family Life Chaplain at Fort Belvoir.
"I think that people sometimes, for whatever reason, have forgotten or they've lost that spiritual part of their life," he said. "(It is important) to encourage Soldiers or Family members to find strength in their faith and in God in a way that can help them to see the bigger picture of life and not get too stressed out over an event that really is just part of a larger plan."
There is a stigma that it is "weak" to seek help for stress, but that's not true, he added; it's the best thing to do in a situation that's too much to handle alone.
"It's fairly normal that we all run into situations that are bigger than we are, that we need help with," he said. "There's no shame in getting that help, but the sooner you get the help, the sooner you can really … correct the problem before it gets to a critical stage."
Often, people don't ask for help until they are at their wit's end, Scott said.
"It's obviously harder to help someone who's in that critical state, whereas if they would be a little more proactive in coming … the chances are so much greater that they can find what they're looking for and manage that stress appropriately," he said.
The Family Life Center can be reached at (703) 805-2742.
There are many other resources that can help with stress management, including
• Family Advocacy Program (703) 805-2693/3339
• Behavioral Health (703) 805-0110
• Military One Source 1-800-342-9647 or www.militaryonesource.com
• Employee Assistance Program (703) 805-5588