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When dealing with stress, we’re not alone

Stress graphic (courtesy graphic)

Stress graphic (courtesy graphic)

PHOENIX -- A few years back I decided to join some friends and hike the Grand Canyon.  The morning finally arrived and I put on my gear and backpack and began to descend towards the Colorado River. 

Little did I realize the backpack which seemed rather light at the beginning of my journey seemed to get heavier as the day progressed and I began my trip back out of the canyon. Stress can be like that backpack.  

At first it may just be an irritant and not a big deal but the longer you carry it the more it weighs you down.  For the most part, we all carry some form of stress.  Whether it is work related, financial, or family related, stress exists in our lives. 

There are numerous articles that deal with the causes of stress and how to cope with it.  Here are just two tips to help you if you are feeling weighed down by the stress in your life. 

Recognize what triggers your stress.  Stress can be brought on by many things, so it is important to identify the source of your stress so you can be better prepared when you encounter it. 

Recognize what helps you destress.  There are many ways to minimize stress.  Exercise, sleeping, shopping, talking are just a few ways that people relax.  It is important for you to know your body and what helps you to manage stress.

Getting back to my story, as I ascended the canyon there were times where I helped others carry their back-packs and others helped me carry my back-pack.  By relying on each other we all made it out of the Grand Canyon that day. 

As a chaplain, I talk to people daily who are struggling with stress in their lives.  If you are finding yourself overwhelmed by stress, know that you are not alone and there are many options for relief.  Below are some phone numbers that can be of help.

Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
National Suicide Prevention Helpline: 1-800-273-TALK
161st Chaplain Office: 1-602-302-9078
161st DPH Office: 1-602-302-9424