In today's world, stress seems to have become a way of life. It is a common topic of conversation and no person appears to be immune to neither its presence nor its effects on their lives. Some of us thrive on stress and perform well when "the pressure is on". Deadlines at work, confrontations and competitions can all increase our level of anxiety. Positive stress can add excitement and anticipation to our lives, but negative stress or prolonged stress can impact an otherwise healthy body. Stress is the body's fight or flight mechanism that responds to events by tensing muscles, raising the heart rate and increasing breathing. While it is hard to control all outside forces that cause stress there are strategies that can help to minimize the effects of stress.
1) Become aware of your stressors and your physical/emotional reactions to them. Recognize what you can change and if needed seek help in making changes in your life that will help to reduce the stress or the effects.
2) Take time for "you". Learn relaxation techniques; set time aside for a relaxing massage; soak in a hot bath, walk the dog. Establish a balance in your life. We all work hard today, but we also need to play. Plan some play time just as you would plan an appointment with your doctor, dentist or your child's teacher. Take out that day timer or palm pilot and set some "down time" a couple of times a week. It doesn't need to be huge blocks of
time. A short 10 minute break just for you can do wonders to restoring your sense of well-being.
3) Take time to exercise. Exercise is one of the most effective ways to manage stress. Exercise releases endorphins that promote a sense of well-being and relaxation. Be consistent with your physical activity. While the stress itself may not completely disappear, the tension and negative effects it has on the body will, leaving you feeling free to enjoy life instead of being burdened by the stress that accompanies it.
4) Maintain a healthy eating plan. Avoid nicotine, excessive caffeine and alcohol. Create a network of support among your family and friends. While none of us can control when and where stress will hit, we can control our reaction to it by developing some healthy strategies.
Till next time,