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Stress Awareness Team: Your CISM Team is Here to Help

During Stress Awareness Month, health care professionals and health promotion experts across the country join forces to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for stress.

NATCA’s Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Team wants you to know that stress is a normal human reaction that happens to everyone. In fact, the human body is designed to experience stress and react to it. When you experience stress, your body produces physical or mental responses. Stress responses help your body adjust to new situations and can be positive, keeping us alert, motivated, and ready to avoid danger. But stress becomes a problem when stressors continue without relief or periods of relaxation.The body’s built-in stress response, the “fight-or-flight response,” helps the body face stressful situations.

When a person has long-term (chronic) stress, continued activation of the stress response causes wear and tear on the body and physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms develop. Physical symptoms of stress can include:

Aches and pains
Chest pain/racing heart
Exhaustion/trouble sleeping
Headaches/dizziness
High blood pressure
Muscle tension/jaw clenching
Stomach/digestive problems
Anxiety/depression

You can’t avoid stress, but you can stop it from becoming overwhelming by practicing some daily strategies:

During high stress times, take time to breathe. Focusing on deep breaths will lower the heart rate and allow your mind to clear.

Eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep will help your body handle and process stress much easier.

Stay positive and practice gratitude, acknowledging the good parts of your day or life.

Accept that you can’t control everything. Find ways to let go of worrying about situations you cannot change.

Learn to say “no” to additional responsibilities when you are too busy or stressed.
Stay connected with people who keep you calm, make you happy, provide emotional support, and help you with practical things.

The CISM Team is a group of air traffic controllers with specialized training in acute stress mitigation. They are a peer-to-peer support system in place to help you navigate the effects of stress. The CISM Team is an unbiased, outlet to discuss whatever our members are going through and are available 24/7. If you would like to reach out to the CISM Team, you can email them at CISM@natca.net or call them at 202-505-2476.

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