What is Stress?
Stress is an instinctual and normal response from the body when forces beyond our control affect our world.
Stressors can be physical, or emotional, and can be self-induced, created by our interactions with other people, situations, or our environment. Absolutely anything we see, do, or experience can create a stress response.
How Does the Body React to Stressful Situations?
The reaction of the body when placed in a stressful situation is to either “Fight” or “Flee.” This served us well in prehistoric times, but in today’s world we can’t run away from our problems, and it’s also not acceptable to start a fight with your boss, co-workers, or family when the pressure is high!
So What Happens to our Body's Ability to Manage Stress?
The body wants to fight or flee, yet we’re stuck in situations where neither of these responses are appropriate...The result, either an irrational outburst that doesn’t do anything productive to help the situation, or we internalize and bottle up our thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
Acting like there’s nothing wrong, when something stressful is happening in our lives, is not a good solution or strategy for solving the problem at hand.
Medical research is starting to document the link between stress and disease.
Some estimates are that 75-90% of all doctor visits may be directly related to stress.
Here are a few conditions that may be caused by prolonged, mis-managed stress:
- Heart Disease
- Chronic Fatigue
- Anxiety Attacks and Mood Swings
- Psychological Distress and Depression
- Sleep Problems
- High Blood Pressure
- Eating Disorders
- Peptic Ulcers
- Poor Immune Function
- Chronic Pain
- Colds, Flu, and Viruses
- Headaches and Migraines
- Alcoholism and Smoking-Related
The Benefits of a Little Bit of Stress in Your Life
Stress helps keep us alert and avoid danger. It's important to realize that not all stress is bad! It's only bad if we allow it to affect us in a negative manner, or never find an appropriate outlet to let off some steam that it starts to be a problem! Overcoming negative thoughts, fears, and obstacles to achieve goals and desires, means you've successfully learned how to harness the power of stress and use it to your advantage, kind of like that old saying, "When life gives you lemons... make lemonade!" or "When the going gets tough.The tough get going."
Your Attitude Makes a Huge Difference on How Your Body Handles Stress!
Stress can be used as a positive motivator too! We can use it to our advantage for that little extra push we need to go the extra distance at work or during a competitive event, perform to the best of our abilities, or find creative solutions to a problem.
What is the Number One Reason to Reduce Stress?
There might be a million reasons why you'd like to live a lower-stress lifestyle, but when you get right down to it... Maintaining YOUR HEALTH is the most important reason to discover effective ways to manage your stress.
Absolutely anything else you want or desire has no meaning if you're not around to enjoy it! A healthy body and calm peace of mind will go a long way towards helping you appropriately handle the stressors in your life.
How to Create a Lower-Stress Lifestyle
There are many tips and tricks you can learn to help you better manage stress! First and foremost you've got to be ready and willing to make some changes in how you think and act. The definition of insanity is "Doing the same thing over, and over, and expecting a different result!" Find new ways to handle the things in your life that are causing an unhealthy stress response.
Discover Things That Help Create Calm in Your Life
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Yoga, stretching, Pilates
- Focused deep breathing
- Soak in the tub
- Get a massage
- Listen to music
- Play with your children
- Spend time with your pets
- Blow bubbles, or fly a kite
- Go out dancing (or dance in your living room!)
- Read a book
- Paint, draw or do something creative
- Your options are unlimited!
Find FUN THINGS You Enjoy That you Know Help Lower Your Stress Level, AND DO THEM!
You may only need 10-15 minutes of time to refresh your body, mind, and spirit, or plan for more time to "PLAY" as you enjoy the benefits and value it's adding to your life. If you're really feeling like you're at the end of your rope...Seek professional help! It's not a sign of weakness to ask for help, but acknowledgement that you've got more on your plate than you can handle and need a supportive team effort to get a handle on things.
CONGRATULATIONS ON TAKING THE STEPS YOU NEED TO IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH!
To keep balance - be sure that you've got time scheduled throughout your week to unwind and let go of your body's stress.Create a list of your favorite stress-reducing options and keep it handy so you can quickly pick one when the need arises! Schedule time daily just for you and enjoy a lower-stress lifestyle.