Stress really is a normal part of life. Stress is helpful when it causes us to flee a dangerous situation or fight to survive. It can also help to motivate or provide the drive to accomplish a task.
Stress can come in many forms. Positive life changes can cause stress on our body. These positive events could include: a marriage, birth of a baby, job promotion or getting ready for a vacation,
Negative events also cause stress. Our body is made to handle the effects of short term stress. Stress without relief equals distress. When distress occurs there is a disruption of the internal balance of the body, both physically and emotionally.
Stress can lead to physical symptoms. Some of those include Headache, upset stomach, increased blood pressure, chest pain, decreased libido, problems sleeping, eating too much or too little, general aches and pains, decreased immune system functioning and worsening of preexisting health problems.
Stress can also lead to emotional problems including irritability, forgetfulness, and depression or panic attacks.
Stress can also lead to compulsive behaviors to relieve the distress. These behaviors may include turning to food, gambling, alcohol, drugs, tobacco, shopping, etc. Compulsive behaviors keep the body in a stressful state.
Here are few tips to reduce or relieve stress:
- Take a break from the stressor. Allow yourself 15-20 minutes away.
- Deep breathing, in through the nose and out through the mouth.
- Be present and enjoy the now, maybe feel the wind on your face, stop to smell the roses, notice the texture and taste of each bite of food.
- Exercise regularly. Even if you move around a lot for your job, do something different before or after work. You could try swimming, walking, running, weight lifting, or biking.
- Eat well by using more natural foods, rather than processed foods.
- Sleep well by creating a good sleeping environment and sticking to regular sleeping hours.
- Smile! Just this movement of the facial muscles can turn into a more positive attitude.
- LAUGH! Do not underestimate laughter as a healthy physical and emotional action.
- Find positive, trustworthy people to be around. Talk face-to-face with them. Join an exercise group.
- Make time for hobbies.
- Avoid alcohol, drugs, tobacco, caffeine and other addictive substances.
- Accept there are things you cannot control.Meditation, yoga, Tai-chi, massage, deep breathing, listening to music you enjoy.
- BE GRATEFUL.
If you are not able to get your stress under control, be sure to talk with your health care provider about options.