More on Stress
(Some of it is OK, ya know!)

What is Stress?  It is a physical and emotional reaction to changes in life.   Stress can be good or bad.  It is caused by our need to take care of ourselves.  When we feel our well-being is threatened we react by feeling stress.

The good stress helps up deal with daily challenges. Stress can be a good thing to help us increase our concentration and other mental and physical challenges to meet a difficult situation. It becomes bad stress if it becomes long-term because it can cause depression and heart disease.

An increased heart rate and sweating before a test, for example, is a good event because it shows the body is preparing for a challenge.  After the challenge is met and has passed, the body then relaxes; the heart rate decreases and the muscles relax.

However, when the stress is continuous and non-stopping, the body does not have an opportunity to relax.  The constant “hyper” state of being stressed is a good indicator of chronic stress. In fact, before I go on, if you are concerned about stress then you need to grab a copy of  "Is Stress Your Silent Killer" You can't afford NOT to read it.

Some Concerns with Stress

Stress that remains constant has no good outcome.  It can be the cause of high blood pressure which, in turn can lead to a heart attack, back pain, migraine headaches, and ulcers.

Stress can also weaken the immune system, which means a person could suffer from more frequent illnesses.

People who experience constant stress often turn to illicit drugs, smoking, or alcohol in an attempt to cope with their stress.   However these strategies offer only immediate, short-term, pseudo relief.  The real source of stress is only masked and remains unchanged.

Some Indicators of Stress

The signs of stress are usually exhibited by changes in behavior.  For example, fatigue, insomnia, irritability, repetitive actions such as drumming of fingers, and inability to concentrate, can be indicators of stress.

By contrast, situations that are stressful for some people are considered to be enjoyable by others.  Some people enjoy public speaking while others are terrified at the prospect of speaking in front of a group of people.

The first step in dealing with stress is to identify its causes.  Feeling overwhelmed or uncertain about the future can be stressful.  Losing a job can also be a real stressor.

Dealing With Stress

An important step in dealing with stress is identifying its duration.   

Is it temporary?  A flat tire?  Someone cuts you off in traffic?  Are you running late for an appointment?  These are only temporary – a stress reducing fact in itself!

Is it life-changing?  If you see it coming, maybe you can plan for it and make adjustments.  On the other hand, if you are blindsided by the event, you may need to get some help from a friend or a professional counselor.

Is it constant and on-going?  Again, you may need to get some help.

Living With Stress

Some stresses are avoidable, others are not.  Please note some techniques for dealing with stress below and some suggested methods of eliminating or reducing them.

  1. Stressed by shopping with your spouse?  That’s controllable – don’t do it!
  2. Plan major life changes to avoid putting too many together at the same time.
  3. Set your priorities and do only one thing at a time.  Don’t rush yourself.
  4. Need to improve your communication skills? Listen more carefully, admit it when your wrong – assuming, of course, that you are!  (hee, hee, hee!)
  5. Talk it over with your spouse/partner, or friend.  Get advice.  Someone else may see a solution you have not considered.
  6. Keep a positive mind set.
  7. Reward yourself!  Do something that brings you joy and contentment.
  8. Get good nutrition and adequate sleep.
  9. Don’t worry about things you cannot control, like the weather!
  10. Solve the little problems first.
  11. As far as possible, prepare ahead of time for upcoming stresses.
  12. See change as a challenge rather than a threat.
  13. Participate in events that bring you energy, like sports, hobbies, or social events.
  14. Exercise daily, exercise, and exercise!  A great stress reducer!
  15. Plan ahead by visualizing the upcoming event.
  16. Try to put things in perspective.  What does this mean in the grand scheme of things?
  17. Imagine the potential negative big events.  Then create a back-up plan.
  18. Do some deep breathing.
  19. Find a quiet spot and clear your mind; imagine a favorite place or event.
  20. Relax your muscles and feel the tension abate.
  21. Stretch your muscles.
  22. See a massage therapist.

Finally...

Stress is a fact of our everyday life.  If we are aware of its presence and manage it correctly, it is a good emotion.  If you have difficulty managing it, please get help from a trusted friend or a professional.

Remember to keep a positive outlook and healthy lifestyle!

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