Stress Awareness Day: 10 Health Benefits Of Relaxation

You may have heard that a little bit of stress is actually good for you. In the just-right amount, that adrenaline rush can power you through a long day at work, boost your workouts and more.

But while it feels good to conquer the day, in the end, it just simply feels better — and is more beneficial to your health — to relax.

That’s of particular importance during the month of April, designated now for 20 years as Stress Awareness Month. April 16th, conveniently the day after one of the most stressful days of the year — tax day — is singled out as National Stress Awareness Day.

Why devote an entire month to stress when there are so many other health concerns plaguing our country? Some would argue that stress is our biggest health concern, given that it has been linked to so many other complications, from heart problems to dementia. Recently, CBS reported on a small study that examined the role of stress in seizures — and found that people are often misdiagnosed with epilepsy, when learning helpful relaxation and coping techniques may be a better solution.

You may still end up racing to meet deadlines at work today, or handling a stressful personal crisis — life goes on, no matter what national day it is. But relaxing whenever possible, and in whatever way works for you (whether it’s reading a book, taking a walk, meditating, running, you name it!) is healthier for you than you might think. Click through the health benefits of relaxation below. Then tell us in the comments how you’re “celebrating” National Stress Awareness Day.

You’ve probably heard that stress can seriously up your risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks and other heart problems.

While researchers aren’t sure exactly why, the research is unanimously in favor of relaxation for your heart’s sake. “There are studies to show that stress is comparable to other risk factors that we traditionally think of as major, like hypertension, poor diet and lack of exercise,” Kathi Heffner, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry at the Rochester Center for Mind-Body Research at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, told Health.com.

Intense, sudden periods of stress or shock, like a breakup or even winning the lottery, can trigger such a rush of adrenaline that the heart can’t function properly, resulting in heart failure or heart attack-like symptoms. In the case of a breakup or death of a loved one, this has become known as broken heart syndrome.