Traffic jams. Toddler tantrums. Deadlines at work. Money troubles. Too much work. Not enough sleep. No time to eat right or even to think.
Does this sound familiar? Stress is all around us. It's an inevitable and normal part of our daily lives. But over time, its effects can be quite taxing. Stress becomes a problem when you feel overwhelmed by its challenges. And though it may be difficult to define, that doesn't mean it's all in your head. Researchers have found that there are significant biological changes that take place in the body in times of stress. And extended periods of stress can cause destructive changes in the body such as depression and a suppressed immune system, which can lead to heart disease, cancer, and stroke. So if you are feeling stressed out, its time to get some relief. Learn about stress: how to identify it, and how to find relief.
Why Do We Get Stressed?
Stress is a normal physical reaction to an internal or external pressure that is placed on your system. People react to most stressful situations with the 'fight or flight' response. The body is flooded with stress hormones, making the heart pump faster, the breathing rate increase, and the muscles tense up. This is the body's way of gearing up for imminent physical activity. For instance, if you are in a minor car accident, your may feel a surge of energy that allows you to escape the car and help others out as well. However, sometimes the stress is emotional rather than physical and the body is not allowed to release the physical tension created by stress hormones. If you're stuck in a traffic jam and late for a meeting, there is little that you can safely do to release the buildup of stress hormones in your body. Over time, stress can lead to back pain, headaches, raised blood pressure, indigestion, sweating, palpitations, irritability, and anxiety. It can also contribute to the development of such diseases as cold sores, ulcers, and heart disease.
What Causes Our Stress?
There are two types of stressors that may be causing you grief. External stressors such as traffic jams, a death in the family, or a financial hardship, are often out of our direct control. Internal stressors, on the other hand, develop through our own personality traits and emotions. It is our ability to handle these internal and external stressors that determines the amount of stress we feel we have. Chemical substances such as alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, sugar, additives, drugs, and environmental toxins, deplete the body of energy and are further sources of stress.
How Can We Prevent Stress?
Stress is an inevitable and normal part of life. So there is no way to prevent it completely. However, there are various stress management techniques that can reduce the effects that stress takes on your life. The most important thing you can do to prevent stress from negatively affecting you is to learn how to recognize stress and the triggers that set you off. Also, avoiding substances such as alcohol, drugs, and nicotine will help the body remain better prepared to handle stress.
Am I Stressed Out?
Ask yourself the following questions:
1. Are you a "control freak," insisting that everything be done your way?
2. Do you have difficulty sleeping at night, because you are going over the events of the day, or worrying about what will happen tomorrow?
3. Do you have a hard time showing your emotions?
4. Do you feel overwhelmed by the number of tasks that you need to accomplish on a daily basis?
5. Being able to identify your personal physical and psychological responses to stress is critical to reducing its negative effects on your life. If you try to deny the existence of stress, or 'tough it out' in hopes that it will go away, you will be more likely to intensify the effects of stress rather than relieve them.
6. The physical symptoms of stress include dry mouth and throat; tight muscles in the neck, shoulders, and back; chronic neck and back problems; headaches; indigestion; tremors; muscle tics; insomnia; and fatigue. Emotional symptoms include difficulty in concentrating, feeling tense, irritability, impulsive behavior, difficulty in making a decision, poor judgment, difficulty relating to--and mistrusting--people, negative thinking, brooding, worrying, depression, anxiety, or feelings of worthless.
Tobacco, alcohol, and drug use can also be signs of stress.
Now that you can recognize the triggers that are making you stressed, you will be better prepared for dealing with these situations. Try these techniques for relieving stress before it becomes a problem.
Get Physical: Physical exercise, whether it's yoga, football, walking, or dance therapy, can help to relive the buildup of stress hormones in the body and promote a general relaxation of the nervous system.
It's All In Your Mind: Use mental exercises such as meditation, guided imagery, art, and playing music, as a useful way to reduce stress and promote relaxation in your life.
Get Connected: Sometimes, all it takes to relieve stress in your life is to talk about the stressor with a close friend or family member. Pet therapy has also been reported to relieve stress.
Eat Up and Eat Well: Stress suppresses the immune system and can cause or aggravate such conditions as heart disease and ulcers. Dietary changes, such as reducing coffee and other caffeinated beverages can reduce the jitteriness, restlessness, anxiety, and insomnia that might magnify the effects of stress. Also whole grains promote production of the brain neurotransmitter serotonin for a greater sense of well being.
For more information on Dr. Group, stress, depression and anxiety please visit our website at http://www.stress-anxiety-depression.org.
About the Author
Dr. Group, the founder/CEO and clinical director for the Global Healing Center, heads a research and development team producing advanced, new, natural health protocols and products. To learn more visit http://www.ghchealth.com.