Any person can experience stress in some form at any given moment in daily life. Stress from work, unhealthy relationships, money (there’s a big one for most people), medical issues, or tiny problems that really shouldn’t cause stress at all. Stress can then cause physical ailments that can lead to serious conditions. Its 7:10 a.m. where I live and already I’ve let myself become stressed making a “To Do” list for the day. What happens to the body when you become stressed?
Stress Gets Physical
Stress can cause tension headaches, ulcers, a rise in blood pressure, quickened breathing, constipation or diarrhea, aches and pains, over or under sleeping, food disorders, and even chest pain. These physical responses to stress can become serious when they happen over and over again. Stress can actually be good for the body when it’s used in an appropriate manner; giving a great presentation at work, going out on a first date, saving a life, or going on a vacation. Appropriate stress levels can help us respond in certain situations and in turn our senses become sharper. When stress becomes an everyday occurence, the body is in overdrive and medical problems can arise. You may even hear people say that stress causes cancer, stroke, and heart attacks.
Physical Ailments Cause Emotional Problems
I am currently going through cancer treatments and have a long list of physical ailments caused by both the cancer and the treatments. Physical ailments that are ongoing can cause emotional problems which in turn cause more stress. It’s a vicious circle to be caught in. Anxious thoughts, depression, moodiness, irritability, agitation, and even poor judgment can all become heightened. Something stressed you out, physical problems arose, and then mental changes came from stressing about the physical issues. The answer to kicking this cycle is stress reduction.
What’s An Appropriate Stress Level?
I used to be much more stressed than I am now. Since being diagnosed with cancer, I’ve decided to get rid of any stress that’s not appropriate. Gaging your stress level and being aware of why you’re stressed can help you control it. Do you stay upset at anything for more than an hour? Are you constantly running late, an angry driver, worried about what you cannot change, do money problems keep you up at night? The list goes on and on for many people. An appropriate level of stress in my opinion is that stress is normal in a situation that causes serious upset or unbalance in your life. Other than that sort of situation it is in overdrive. It even gets to the point that it feels normal to be stressed every day in American life. Is it really stressful because you’re running 5 minutes behind schedule? Not really. Is it stressful because you had a car accident when you were speeding to get to work? Yes it is. Now you should be stressed. Learn to gauge your stress level and find ways to reduce it.
Reducing Stress in Little Ways
There are some really easy ways to reduce stress that I’ve used in my own life.
First, if you are constantly late for things then try getting up 10 minutes earlier, having clothes ready the night before, lunch packed, the gas tank full, and so forth. Being prepared for the day takes a lot of stress off. It’s the difference between strolling out the front door in the morning and hopping on one foot trying to put your shoe on, coffee splashing down your shirt, and yelling at the kids to move the bike behind the car.
Second, ask yourself why you are so stressed. Do you need more money? Are the kids fighting? Are you angry at the person in the checkout line? The answers to these problems are simple. Find a solution and follow through on it. Make more money, talk with the kids, get over the person in the checkout line (the problem there may be you).
Third, take some time to actually relax. I don’t care if it’s just 10 minutes. You need it. Also, make a list of the 6 most important things to do each day. Your list can have 30 different things on it. Concentrate on the top 6 and then the next day move the others up to the top. Keep adding to that list but only do 6 per day if possible. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks to others. Sharing the stress load will help you get more done and feel less stressed.