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Stress - Understanding And Coping With It

May 16, 2008
Some stress is normal in everyone's life, without it we would be bored and life would be dull indeed. We need the excitement of challenges and the uniqueness of new events in our lives. Stress becomes a problem when your environment and your personal circumstances create too many demands on your body and mind's ability to cope with them.

The first thing in understanding stress is that not everyone reacts to circumstances in the same way, what may not worry you at all may well be quite stressful to other people and conversely someone else may not understand why you are affected by what to them seems a trifling matter.

The second major point to remember is that stress is cumulative, continued exposure to minor stresses can over time build up to a level where your mind says " enough, I just can't cope anymore " at that point your health starts to be affected and you need to take measures to reduce your stress levels.

Stress compromises your ability to fight off disease and infection, throws your digestive system off balance, makes it difficult to conceive a baby, and can even stunt growth in children. Stress can significantly affect many of the body's immune systems, as can an individual's perceptions of, and reactions to, stress.

Causes of stress

1. Major events like the death of someone close, getting married, changing jobs, moving home, relationship breakups.

2. Long term worries like financial problems, ongoing illness, work related stress and strain between family members.

3. Daily hassles like rude workmates, traffic jams, environmental stressors such as an unsafe neighborhood, pollution, noise (sirens keeping you up at night, a barking dog next door), and uncomfortable living conditions.

Signs of stress

The best way to cope with unhealthy stress is to recognize what makes you feel stressed and to realize when your stress levels are building.

Some stress warning signs include:

Memory problems, indecisiveness, inability to concentrate, trouble thinking clearly, poor judgment, seeing only the negative side of things, anxious or racing thoughts, constant worrying, moodiness, restlessness, irritability, an inability to relax, a sense of loneliness and isolation, depression.

Physical Symptoms can include: headaches or backaches, muscle tension and stiffness, diarrhea or constipation, nausea, dizziness, insomnia, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, weight gain or loss, skin breakouts (hives, eczema), loss of sex drive, frequent colds, procrastination, using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax .

Coping with stress

1. Identify and acknowledge your problems

2. Take a deep breath

3. Plan your daily schedule

4. Connect an talk with other people

5. Take a vacation

6. Take up a physical activity

7. Have a good cry when needed

8. Think about positive things in your life

9. Delegate

10. Laugh

11. Stress management programs teach people about the nature and sources of stress, the effects of stress on health, and personal skills to reduce stress-for example, time management or relaxation exercises. Stress-management skills work best when they're used regularly, not just when the pressure's on

12. Getting enough sleep helps keep your body and mind in top shape, making you better equipped to deal with any negative stressors.

13. It's easy when you're stressed out to eat on the run or eat junk food or fast food. But under stressful conditions, the body needs its vitamins and minerals more than ever.

14. Although alcohol or drugs may seem to lift the stress temporarily, relying on them to cope with stress actually promotes more stress because it wears down the body's ability to bounce back.

15. There are also counsellors who specialize in stress; ask your family doctor for a referral to one.

16. There may also be community college courses and stress management workshops available in your community.

17. Whatever you do, don't do nothing ! Chronic stress kills through suicide, violence, heart attack, stroke, and, perhaps, even cancer. Because physical and mental resources are depleted through long-term attrition, the symptoms of chronic stress are difficult to treat and may require extended medical as well as behavioral treatment and stress management.

For more information you can go to www.stressreliefsite.com
About the Author
Dick Aronson has a background of more than 35 years in the healthcare industry.He has been involved in a number of projects in 23 different countries and is the author of several articles on health matters. He is the administrator of a stress website where you can get his ebook on stress.Visit stress relief
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