HAPPY S.A.D. by Matthew Ponder

Distracted by irrelevance. The stress and the tension. The stress and the tension. I’m in a lull.
— Radiohead

These lyrics from one of my favorite English rock bands accurately describe my feelings and maybe even yours these last few weeks. The stress and the tension from domestic and global tragedies, natural disasters, and political upheaval is enough to leave us all in emotional lulls. Lull or not, today is Stress Awareness Day which is observed annually on the first Wednesday in November. The day is described as an opportunity to identify and reduce the factors of stress in your personal and public lives. This year’s observance may feel extra appropriate depending on your expectations of last night’s election results.

When these non-government recognized days appear on our social feeds, many of us often overlook them entirely. Last month for example, World Mental Health Day may have come and gone for you in the blink-of-an-eye. Undoubtedly, it would have missed my radar if it weren’t for a notification I received from a friend’s organization, BLKHLTH. It’s so easy to bypass these days, yet, it requires little effort to gain and spread awareness. Whether you live in a buzzing metropolis or provincial town, stress is a universal occurrence that applies to us all. Whether you come from a history of poverty or fall into the highest tax brackets, you can not escape stress. As a wise New Yorker once stated, “Mo’ money mo’ problems.”

When untreated or ignored, our stress may lead to far more serious complications. Stress and anxiety disorders are “the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.” This statistic from the ADAA emphasizes the importance of setting aside days for such awareness and discussion. Celebrate this Stress Awareness Day and allow yourself to rest your mind and body before jumping into your next task or assignment. Celebrate today by contacting a friend or loved one that could use some relief in the form of conversation or a funny meme. Don’t allow the ominous cloud of worry to hover above you and have a Happy National Stress Awareness Day.