Tax Day is just around the corner, outdoor sports (and the inevitable chore of driving the kids around town) are starting and spring is in full swing! There never seems to be a shortage of stress-inducing deadlines, activities and obligations to keep us busy. What exactly does this stress do to our bodies and how can we get a grip on it?
Causes of Stress
Stress comes at us in many ways and affects people differently. Sitting in rush hour traffic when you’re in a hurry to get somewhere can be stressful, but so can losing a loved one or having a family quarrel. Stress is our body’s natural reaction to emotional, intellectual or physical demands. Some stress is good; it keeps us alert in dangerous situations and helps us react to possible threats. But when stress becomes chronic and no relief is experienced, the body becomes exhausted and the risk of developing depression, heart disease and other problems increases.
Your body’s autonomic nervous system has a built-in “fight or flight” response that is activated in emergency situations. If the cause of the stress is never negated, the body can experience physical and emotional damage. It is easy to become trapped in a cycle of stress, substance abuse and compulsive behaviors if an outlet for stress is not found.
Here are some of the physical symptoms of chronic stress:
- Tiredness, exhaustion
- General aches and pains
- Indigestion or acid reflux symptoms
- Muscle tension, especially in the face, jaw or shoulders
- Problems sleeping
- Quickened pulse rate
- Weight gain or loss
- Irritability, dizziness or forgetfulness
You may feel like there is nothing you can do about prolonged stress, but you have more control than you might think. By simply identifying and categorizing the type of stress you feel, you’ll have a better grasp on alleviating your symptoms. Here are things to consider when taking control of your stress:
- Identify the source of the stress (work related, family, financial, etc.)
- Recognize your ability to change the situation causing stress: are you able to change things or avoid the stressor entirely?
- Consider your reaction: can you better adapt to the stressor or be more accepting of things beyond your control?
- Will the cause of the stress resolve itself with the passing of time?
- Do you feel that stress is an inevitable part of your everyday life? Can you take control of your environment or learn to limit your exposure to the stressor?
Ways to Take Control
After making a realistic evaluation of the things causing you anxiety, evaluate your ability to make changes that will change your situation. Learn to say “no” to obligations that you really can’t handle. Be kind to yourself and avoid people and situations that cause you grief. Talk to a trusted friend who can offer a new perspective (or just be a good listener when you need to vent). Recharge and nurture yourself by doing one of the following activities:
- Write a letter to a friend
- Spend time in a pleasant, natural setting
- Go for a walk and take your pet along
- Enjoy a warm cup of Innergize!®
- Read a book or listen to soothing music
- Take a long bath or nap and focus on relaxation
By setting aside time each day to relax, you’ll gain better perspective on the stress in your life and gain better skills for negating your tension. Take time each day to consider your own needs and evaluate what you can do to alleviate your stress and replenish your stores of calm serenity. If you need a healthy dose of energy, try Reliv’s healthy energy shot 24K™ with B vitamins, fatigue-reducing Beta Alanine and Gamma Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) that increases endorphins and reduces anxiety.