The American Institute of Stress (AIS) is a non-profit organization which imparts information on stress reduction, stress in the workplace, effects of stress and various other stress related topics. AIS was founded in 1978, at the request of Dr. Hans Selye to serve as a clearinghouse of all stress related information. Today, AIS provides a diverse and inclusive environment that fosters intellectual discovery creates and transmits innovative knowledge, improves human health and provides leadership to the world on stress related topics.

What is Stress?

If you were to ask a dozen people to define stress, or explain what causes stress for them, or how stress affects them, you would likely get 12 different answers to each of these requests. The reason for this is that there is no definition of stress that everyone agrees on, what is stressful for one person may be pleasurable or have little effect on others. We all react to stress differently.

Effects of Stress

Stress is difficult for scientists to define because it is a highly subjective phenomenon that differs for each of us. Things that are distressful for some individuals can be pleasurable for others. We also respond to stress differently. Some people blush, some eat more while others grow pale or eat less. There are numerous physical as well as emotional responses as illustrated by the list of some 50 common signs and symptoms of stress found on the next page.

America’s # 1 Health Problem

Contemporary stress tends to be more pervasive, persistent and insidious because it stems primarily from psychological than physical threats.  It is associated with ingrained and immediate reactions over which we have no control that were originally designed to be beneficial.

 Workplace Stress

Numerous surveys and studies confirm that occupational pressures and fears are far and away the leading source of stress for American adults and that these have steadily increased over the past few decades. While there are tons of statistics to support these allegations, how significant they are depends on such things as how the information was obtained (self-report vs. answers to carefully worded questions), the size and demographics of the targeted group, how participants were selected and who sponsored the study.

Stress Management

Just as stress is different for each of us there is no stress reduction strategy that is a panacea.  The key to reducing stress is to prevent it. Getting enough sleep, a proper diet, avoiding excess caffeine and other stimulants and taking time out to relax may be helpful in this regard. Many stress relievers work because of the power of the placebo effect that comes from having faith in the procedure or the therapist. Other very different approaches can achieve the same results because they reduce feelings of helplessness and provide a sense of control over the problem.




The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or is a toll-free suicide prevention hotline network comprised of over 150 local crisis centers. The Lifeline is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and administered by Link2Health Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Mental Health Association of New York City (MHA-NYC). The Lifeline provides free and confidential crisis counseling to anyone in need 24/7 and has answered over 3 million call since its launch in 2005.

Youth Ambassadors 3rd Annual Teen Forum




0315141205The Henrico Prevention Services Youth Ambassadors held their 3rd Annual Teen forum on 3/15/14 on the campus of Virginia Union University. Parents, Middle and high school students from the metro Richmond area attended the event. Ms. Kemba Smith, international speaker and author of the book “Poster Child” was the keynote speaker. There were over 140 people in attendance.

March is National Women’s History Month!

March is National Women’s History Month! This month was declared by Congress officially in 1987. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment.” We should celebrate the many accomplishments of women that are sometimes overlooked. Despite the struggle for women’s rights and equality, women have managed to leave a lasting mark on society in many different forums. We should talk to our daughters and inspire them to embrace being and becoming strong and influential women. We should talk to our sons about respecting women and valuing them for their diverse experiences. Take a moment to consider the large steps women have taken to improve our society into what we know today!


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 This week in Al’s Pals, we introduced the topic of PRIDE. The kids learned what it means to be proud, and we had a discussion about times they have felt proud of themselves.

Leading up to this lesson, for the past few months, we have been rewarding the best behaved 1-2 students each week with a “Star Leader” award and prize. These awards go to students who are quiet and listening, helpful to the teacher, and participating in songs, games, and discussion. Hopefully, your kids have shared their awards with you. If not, be sure to ask them if they have gotten any thus far! And be sure to ask them what they did to earn the award. The leaders of the day should have pride in themselves, and should be encouraged to share their pride!