Stress is any circumstance that imposes special physical or psychological demands on us or throws us off our equilibrium. Positive stress is often reflected in a confident attitude and superior performance. When we’re under pressure, we experience heightened energy and motivation levels that enable us to function at our best. A certain amount of stress also makes life interesting. With too little stimulation, we become bored and frustrated.
On the other hand, too much stress pushes us into overdrive or distress. It’s not unlike the strings on a guitar: when they’re too loose, the sound they make is poor; too tight, and the strings can break. “Stress can be the spice of life,” says Dr. Mark Ketterer, a clinical psychologist at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, “or the kiss of death.” It’s the latter possibility that should worry us.
Unfortunately, modern society tends to produce constant distress. How we respond is up to us. Anything you can do to relax your mind and body on a regular basis will enhance your ability to manage stress. Set aside time for yourself in the midst of your busy schedule. Then look for an activity that will help you switch of and relax. Go for a walk, read a book, listen to music, soak in a warm bath, practice yoga. Never use lack to time as an excuse to keep you from practicing relaxation techniques. Here are a few of my favorite ways to relax.
Exercise. People who exercise frequently experience more positive moods and less anxiety that people who exercise little r not at all. One reason may be that the physical act of exercising allots the body to “throw of” tension. Anyone who runs, walks or swims regularly know that post-exercise feeling; the body feels tired, even drained, but good and less stressed out.
Get enough sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation is linked to psychological distress, including depression and anxiety. Make sure your are getting a good nights sleep!
Listen to your spiritual side. Good family relationships, getting together with friends are all associated with less stress. Studies have found that having a religious faith and a sense of spirituality can also reduce stress. Having close friends that can pray with you and for you and knowing that the Lord is there for you are great stress relievers.
Turn off the television. Many people have the TV on all the time and you can actually get saturated with all the information. Watching the news and how TV news is presented and sensationalized can increase anxiety. Every day we are subjected to unforgettable image of violence and destruction. Turn off the TV and opt to get more of your news from written reporting which tends to provide a calmer account of events. Concentrate on your immediate surroundings; family, work, friends and community. Be more involved in real life events and you will feel less anxious and more in control.
How do you handle the stress in your life? For me it’s regular exercise, taking long walks with friends and working in the garden. I know the world is crazy around me but I can take pleasure in these simple acts and stop stressing!