Stress; A word that you hear everyday! You job can bring you stress, your home life can bring you stress, heck, even your vacation can stress you out. It’s important to take the time to identify your stress and react to it. Learn about what stressed you out, and what impacts does stress cause you individually. Learn what triggers your stress and find coping skills to accommodate your stress. Lets learn a little bit about stress and see if we can come up with some exercises or remedies that may help you through the stress that you may be experiencing right now.
The term “stress” refers to any reaction to a physical, mental, social, or emotional stimulus that requires a response or alteration to the way we perform, think, or feel. Change is stressful- whether the change is good or bad. Worry produces stress. Indeed, stress is an unavoidable part of life. It can result from many things, both physical and psychological. Pressures and deadlines at work, problems with loved ones, the need to pay the bills, and getting ready for the holidays are obvious sources of stress for many people. Less obvious stresses, the ones we really need to pay attention to, include everyday encounters with crowds, noise, traffic, pain, extremes of temperature, and even welcome events such as starting a new job or the birth or adoption of a new child. Overwork, lack of sleep, and physical illness put stress on the body. Some people create their own stress;whether there is anything objectively wrong in their lives or not, they find things to worry about. For such people, stress becomes almost an addiction.
Some people handle stress very well, and it has little impact on their emotional or physical health. Others are very negatively influenced by it. Stress can cause fatigue, chronic headaches, irritability, changes in appetite, memory loss, low self-esteem, withdrawal, teeth grinding, cold hands, high blood pressure, shallow breathing, nervous twitches, lowered sexual drive, insomnia, or other changes in sleep patterns, and/or gastrointestinal disorders. Stress creates an excellent breeding ground for illness. researchers estimate that stress contributes to as many as 80 percent of all major illness, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, endocrine and metabolic disease, skin disorders, and infectious ailments of all kinds. Many psychiatrists believe that majority of back problems are related to stress.
Many people attribute their stress-related symptoms to “nerves” and in fact stress usually does affect the parts of the body that are related to the nervous system first, especially through the digestive organs. Symptoms of stress-related digestive disorders may be flare-up of an ulcer or irritable bowel syndrome. If stress that produces such symptoms is not handled properly, more serious illnesses may result.
So now that we know stress is very dangerous and harmful, we need to learn things that we can do to prevent or reduce stress from impacting our lives. Here are some recommendations to help you cope with or prevent your stress levels.
- eat a diet composed of 50 to 75% raw foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables not only supply valuable vitamins and minerals, but are rich in compounds called flavonoids, many of which scavenge and neutralize dangerous free radicals.
- Avoid processed foods and all foods that create stress on the system, such as artificial sweeteners, carbonated soft drinks, chocolate, eggs, fried, foods, pork, red meat, sugar, white flour products, foods containing preservatives or heavy spices and chips and similar snack foods.
- Eliminate dairy products from your diet for three weeks. Then reintroduce them slowly- and watch for returning symptoms of your “nervous” condition.
- Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and mood altering drugs. these may offer a temporary solution, however the truth is the stress will still be there the following day.
- Limit your intake of caffeine. Caffeine contributes to nervousness and can disrupt sleep patterns.
- Get regular exercise.
- Learn to relax. Relaxation is often difficult for people suffering from the effects of stress, but its necessary
- Get sufficient sleep each night. This may be difficult, because stress can keep you up at night.
- Try meditation. Many people find that regular meditation helps then to relax and handle stress. Meditation does not have to be spiritual or religious connotations. For example, you can meditate on a word such as “peace,” “calm,” “relax,” or “warm.” Or you may find it helpful to meditate on a pleasant person, place or event. It is good to have a store of pleasant thoughts to draw on during stressful times. While meditation can have some short-term benefits, it is more effective when practiced on a daily basis. Try meditation twice a day for ten to twenty minutes each time.
- Practice deep breathing
- Identify the sources of your stress
- Take a day off – that is what weekends are for. Take a drive, listen to music, go to the beach or lake, read – whatever you find rewarding and relaxing.
- Pursue a hobby
- Do not repress or deny your emotions. This only compounds stress. Admit your feelings and accept them. Keeping strong feelings bottled up only causes them to resurface later as illness. Don’t be afraid to cry. Learning to cry can help you to manage stress. Crying can relieve anxiety and let loose bottled up emotions.
There are many things we can do to help us deal with stress. I have given you some suggestions, however you need to find what works for you as everyone is different! I would love to hear comments back on this one to let me know what you do to release stress!
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