Focus at Four: Experts offer ways to cope during National Stress Awareness Month

KBTX First News at Four EXTENDED(Recurring)
Published: Apr. 11, 2023 at 5:07 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - April is National Stress Awareness Month. It’s a month dedicated to raising awareness of the negative impact of stress and various strategies to address it.

According to the American Psychological Association, a 2022 poll found that 27% of Americans reported they are so stressed they cannot function.

A majority of adults cited inflation (83%), violence and crime (75%), the current political climate (66%), and the racial climate (62%) as significant sources of stress.

“Everybody has stress, it’s a natural part of our life,” said Alex Molina-Condal, a licensed professional counselor with Thriveworks. “The problem, as we see with mental health is the difference between something that is normal versus something that has to have clinical attention is just a thin line.”

Molina-Condal said understanding stress is an important first step in dealing with how to cope with the issue.

“You are not weak if you feel stressful,” said Molina-Condal. “It’s the response that your own body has for the conditions that you’re leading every single day.”

The National Institute of Mental Health divides stress into three basic levels:

  1. Routine stress from the demands of work, school, family needs, money problems, and other daily pressures don’t stop
  2. An acute stress reaction occurs when a person experiences certain symptoms after a particularly stressful event
  3. Stress may cause a person to feel emotional trauma that is often similar to PTSD

“Those are the three general levels of stress that we pay attention to when we have a client reporting what they’re feeling,” said Molina-Condal. “What we can do is give information to people, but each person has the responsibility to look at research and find help for that because the problem with stress is that it’s also pervasive.”

If you are struggling to cope, or the symptoms of your stress or anxiety won’t go away, it may be time to talk to a professional.

If you are in immediate distress or are thinking about hurting yourself, call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or chat at