By Linda G. Ritchie, Ph.D.
Have you ever thought, “One day I’m going to Snap” ? Your kids, your parents, deadlines, accidents, traffic jams, the boss, bills, deadlines … all the ordinary problems of life can mount up until your life seems out of control. Stress is an integral part of life, however, uncontrolled stress reduces your quality of life and can actually be responsible for numerous health problems. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, more than half of all deaths between the ages of one and 65 result from stressful lifestyles. Additionally, it is estimated that 42.6 % of adults 18+ years old experience adverse health effects from stress.
Your body responds to a stressor by pumping adrenaline and other hormones into the bloodstream. Your heart beats faster and your respiration rate increases. Digestion slows down. Your liver releases stored sugar and your heart pumps extra oxygen and blood to your muscles. Antibodies and clotting chemicals are produced and in under 10 seconds, your body is ready to fight or to flee. If there is no fighting or running away, the tension mounts. Stress builds and eventually physical disorders can occur.
Daily hassles over a period of time actually have a greater chance of causing burnout or serious illness than do the major events of your life. How you deal with stress can strongly affect how physically and mentally healthy you are and how productive you are at home and at work.
Healthcare professionals and researchers have been studying stress for years: what it is, how it affects you, and how you can manage it. Research shows that in most cases, the solutions to stress-related problems can be found within the individual. With some individual effort and personal commitment, people can learn how to relieve the stress and tension that stands between them and a healthier, more satisfying life. This time of year can be particularly stressful for many people. If you find that you are unable to manage your stress by yourself, seek the help of a qualified health care professional. A little coaching in stress reduction can literally save your life.
10 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress
1. Close your eyes and breath slowly for 90 seconds
2. Spend time with pets
3. Stand up and stretch
4. Get some exercise
5. Strive for excellence – NOT perfection
6. Sing along to some favorite music
7. Go to bed early
8. Give a loved one a hug
9. Take a walk outside
10. Quit trying to “fix” others- just work on you!
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