Beat Stress to Stay Healthy

Stress is the physical and emotional response of our body to an external event that threatens to change the equilibrium of our life. The event can be a joyous one or emotionally debilitating but the physiological response to it can be very similar. Hence it is not unknown for brides-to- be to have a case of severe acne just before the wedding or a student to suffer from sleeplessness and indigestion just before the exams. A demanding job or a special needs child can be emotionally draining and mentally exhausting. Things become worse if we do not take out time to let our body relax from the incessant demands that life makes on it.

When our body is subjected to stress over a long period of time, physical and emotional fatigue sets in which leads to a number of health problems. High blood pressure, muscular tension, heartburn, insomnia, irritability, hair loss and headaches are some of the few problems that are associated with stress.

Too often people resort to use of drugs, sleeping pills, alcohol or smoking to find an escape from their problems. In the short run, these props may provide some relief but the long term harmful effects of these things can be very damaging to our body. To stay healthy in face of stress requires a person to modify his behavior and learn to relax.

Put your imagination to work

When work related stress or traffic jam threatens to overwhelm you, learn to sit back, close your eyes and use your imagination to transport you somewhere else for a few minutes. Imagine a pleasant, serene place and concentrate on all its colors, smells and sounds. Relax your muscles and let tension ebb out of you. Then return to your problem with a renewed vigor.

Maintain your fitness

Exercise, diet and sleep play a pivotal role in reducing stress. Simple activities such as walking in a park, jogging, swimming, doing yoga, gardening or even window shopping can be great stress relievers. Increased level of activity makes you physically tired and helps you sleep better. Keep your diet simple and nutritious and according to the amount of physical work you are involved in. Learn relaxing techniques and use them often.

Assess your lifestyle:

Money, workplace, relationships and children can be biggest causes of stress in our life and some mistakes can be of our making. Do you spend more money than you can afford to on unnecessary things? Got a liking for gambling, betting or lottery? How do you use your free time? And in whose company? Can you really afford expensive trips when other alternates exist? Do you discuss your dreams, ambitions and setbacks with your life partner? Are you happy with your job or do you have other options? Assessing the answers to questions like these can help you reorganize your life and reduce unnecessary stress.

Change your routine:

A change in personal routine sometimes helps to remove stress. If you are addicted to the computer and television, try to break this habit by getting closer to nature. Watch a sunset or sunrise. Take up a new hobby that helps you to express your emotions like writing, blogging or painting. Keep a diary or journal and vent out your frustration, angst and negativity on paper.

Volunteer:

Some people find volunteering to have a very beneficial effect on their moods and personality. Helping others puts our own lives and problems in perspective. It helps us find new friends and unearth new talents within us. The personal satisfaction that comes with helping others goes a long way in alleviating sense of weariness and ennui.

Motivate yourself:

Stress is often a result of conflict between unrealistic expectations and realities of life. Keeping our expectations within the realm of normality while motivating ourselves to improve and succeed goes a long way in easing stress. Use following examples of self motivation:

“It might be difficult, but I’ll try again.” “This phase shall soon pass.” “I’ll try to come up with better ideas of tackling this problem.” “Things can go wrong but I’ll take this as a learning experience.” “Nothing can be done about this right now but I’ll take a different approach tomorrow.”

Other techniques:

  • They don’t say “laughter is the best medicine” for nothing. Try to watch a funny movie when stressed and cast aside your worries for some time.
  • Have some sort of greenery around you. Place a potted plant or a scenery depicting nature near you, as it can have a soothing effect on nerves.
  • Talk to a sympathetic family member or a friend in times of stress and indecision.
  • Meditation, prayers and yoga all help you to relieve tension and promote general well being so incorporate these activities in your daily routine to stay healthy in face of stress and challenges that life has to offer.

image credit: Pixabay.com

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