How stress is affecting our lives
Stress is now considered one of the biggest issues facing us in today’s modern and fast paced world. It’s a topic we are all well aware of. Stress related and psychosomatic illnesses are on the increase and the majority of people asked will admit to feeling pressured and stressed, either from work or home. So how does Stress make us feel?
When the cute guy at works asks you out and you find yourself preparing for your date with ‘butterflies’ in your stomach, this is Stress. But many of you will agree this is a nice stress, a good stress, a similar feeling will occur when you give a public speech, sitting a job interview, saying your wedding vows etc. A little of this stress can help to keep you on your toes and ready for a challenge, it will give you focus, strength, stamina and you will find you are more alert and ‘alive’.
But what about Bad Stress, or stress overload.
“Juggling, juggling, juggling, about 10 balls in the air, and one has razor blades stuck in it” – Anthony Galvin, Macroom, Cork.
Too many people feel like this almost daily now, and stress overload is very common. We are coping with pressures that are too intense or last too long, a feeling of ‘holding the world on your shoulders’, worrying about bills, job security, constant overtime or demands at work, your family, keeping up with mortgage repayments, even the long commute to work and fighting traffic on a daily basic can cause stress overload. The list is endless and each person’s level of stress and ability to cope is different.
Ongoing or long-term events, like coping with a divorce, illness in the family or loss of a loved one can cause stress too. Long-term stressful situations can produce a lasting, low-level stress that’s hard on people. The nervous system senses continued pressure and may remain slightly activated and continue to pump out extra stress hormones. Over a long period of time this type of stress takes its toll on the body. Many physical and physiological symptoms can accord, such as –
Anxiety or panic attacks
Wear and tear on the heart and internal organs
Lowers the immune system
Irritability and emotional outbursts
Chest pain, elevated heart rate
Allergic reactions such as eczema or asthma
Depression, sadness and tendency to cry easily
General feeling of been ‘worn out’
But what can we do to beat stress? There are many ways to tackle the stress in your life and to find a balance that works for you. Certainly attending a stress workshop or making an appointment with a stress consultant or therapist is the ideal if you find you are unable to cope with the pressures that you may be under. Many companies now offer stress management workshops and seminars for their employees, a wise decision considering the number of lawsuits against companies due to stress related illnesses is on the increase.
Learning the importance of proper time-management is also a must for those with busy schedules or hectic lives.
Some simple changes to your life can also help greatly, such as –
1. Learn to relax – very important this one and simple breathing exercises or meditation is a great tool in the fight against Stress.
2. Get a good night’s sleep – this will give you an energized feeling for the day, it’s hard to work at peak performance when we’re tired and sluggish.
3. Treat your body well – that means having a healthy diet, eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, drink lots of water as opposed to coffee or soft drinks, cut back on alcohol and smoking (ideally cutting them out completely).
4. Move your body – take up a physical exercise, it doesn’t matter what you do, walking, swimming, belly dancing, yoga etc, the point is that at least 4 times a week you work and move your body, this is great for stress reduction, not to mention the benefits for your body. Its very hard to remain stressed when the body is working up a sweat.
5. Take up a hobby – find an activity that is neither work nor home related can do wonders for wellbeing, again it’s unimportant what you do, it can be sailing, fishing, collecting stamps, photography etc. What’s important is that this is something which you enjoy, and everyone deserves a little ‘me’ time in the day.
The bottom line is that Stress is here to stay, what we need to do is learn how to live with it and to properly manage and cope with the stress in our lives.
Take control of your life today.
Stress Management Consultant, Time-Management consultant and Holistic Therapist, Trainer and Teacher.