Learning to recognise and cope with the stresses in your life
People experience a wide array of stresses at home, at work, and at play. While a certain level of life stress is normal, even beneficial as a reaction to positive events (e.g. wedding, birth of a child, vacation, etc.), too much negative stress can trigger serious health issues.
What causes the most stress? While every individual has unique life experiences, the list below covers several recognized sources of massive negative stress:
- Death of spouse, family members, or close friends.
- Divorce, lawsuits.
- Theft, burglary, loss of personal property.
- Loss of employment, business.
- Poor workplace environment.
- Cash flow problems, excess consumer and household debt.
- Poor academic performance.
Health effects of stress
Rumour has it that many folks thrive on continuously high levels of stress. Professional athletics, Wall Street stock trading, and fire fighting come to mind. These occupations offer no shortage of “rushes”, often multiple times per day.
However, reality says that regular adrenaline rushes are usually followed by massive energy depletion. A person unable to replenish himself within a reasonable time becomes vulnerable to various illnesses, i.e.:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Some types of bowel disease or obstruction
- Mental illness
- Inability to control blood sugar levels (diabetes)
- Alcohol, substance abuse
- Body weight fluctuations
- Weakened immune system (colds, flu, etc.)
Strategies for dealing with stress
Stress does not have to dominate your life, but it does require a solid three-pronged strategy to keep it under check:
- Recognition: Knowing what types of events affect you the most (see list above).
- Stress management: See what works for you; exercise, gardening, music, reading, meditation and deep breathing are all possible answers.
- Stress prevention: Becoming a more decisive person, refusing to procrastinate, delegating authority to a strong team at work; remaining positive and acting within your capabilities.
A great way to work off stress is to get moving. You can join a gym, work out in your bedroom or garage, or just take a walk to get your endorphins going. You can also try exercising together with your family and friends. Another great way to de-stress is to get a massage. When stressed, parts of your body may tense up even without you noticing – massage is fantastic to loosen up any tension and make you feel great.
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