How to Beat Stress by Francine Milford
Your alarm clock doesn’t go off one morning, now you're going to be late for work. As you race to the shower, you stub your toe---ouch. Halfway through the shower warm water turns cold. Shivering, you reach for your towel, but it’s not there.
Dressing in a hurry, you can already hear your boss screaming at you in your head. Grabbing your car keys, you rush to your car. As you turn your key in the ignition, the car doesn’t start.
At this point some people will pound the steering wheel, yell or scream offering a few choice curse words. Still others will sink into their seat defeated and cry. Either way, it’s the body’s response to stress.
In a Healthy People 2000 Summary by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, it was noted that 75% of the general population experiences at least “some stress” every two weeks and half of those experienced moderate to high levels of stress during that same period.
As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, employee, business owner and student, I am well familiar with stress and the ways it can affect your body. But as a certified personal trainer, I also understand how stress can affect your body and have taught classes on stress reduction for more than twenty years.
But, what is stress? Stress is caused when there is an imbalance between the demands of life and our ability to cope with them. Stress is not all up in your head, it is a very real physical reaction in your body.
When you are frightened or threatened, your adrenal glands releases adrenaline-a hormone that activates your body’s defensive mechanisms. Adrenaline makes your heart pound, your blood pressure rise, your muscle tense and even the pupils of your eyes open wide. It is the Fight or Flight Response and it is meant to protect you. But too much of it can actually harm you.
Whether you are faced with a real life-threatening situation or just stuck in traffic, the body responds in the same way. Stress is also accumulative. That means that a lot of little stresses happening in your life at one time can add up and have long term effects on your body.
But, what are these effects and how can we reduce or eliminate them? According to the 1990 edition of The Doctors Book of Home Remedies by the editors of Prevention Magazine Health Books, stress can have both short term and long term effects on the body.
Stress can cause both short term and long term effects on the body.
The short term effects of stress on the body.
The long term effects of stress on the body include:
- Migraine headaches
- High blood pressure
- Immune disorders
- Digestive disorders.
So, what can we do about stress?
According to the Doctor’s Book of Home Remedies, there are both active and passive ways to reduce the stress in your life.a. Passive ways to reduce stress in your life.
- Take a hot soak
- Aromatherapy such as Lavender essential oil
- Try Herbal therapies such as Chamomile tea
- Listen to meditation tape
- Give positive affirmations
- Listen to relaxing music
- Practice imagery
Active ways to reduce stress in your life.
- Exercise, even gardening is a form of exercise
- Take anti anxiety drugs like Diazepam
- Count to ten
- Yell or scream
- Drawing, doing crafts
- Write your feelings down in a journal
Take a moment now and take a slow deep breath in through your nose and then slowly release that breath through your mouth. Repeat two more times.
This time, breathe in for a count of four and hold that breath for a count of four and then release that breath for a count of four and leave your lungs empty for a count of four. Repeat two more times.
If this is easy, change the number four to six, eight or ten. The ultimate achievement would be to make it to 15. Yes, this will take plenty of practice, but just think about how nice and relaxed you will feel.
It took me nearly two years to achieve this technique, so don't be in such a hurry to do in one day. Relax and have fun!
Today I have shared with you the importance of reducing the stress levels in your life and have offered you several methods that you can use to reduce stress. Whether you choose to soak in a warm tub of water, sip some herbal tea, or take a walk around the block, you can reduce the stress in your body for a happy and healthier life.