There is no easy way to say this but stress is recognized as the number one proxy killer disease of today, this according to the American Medical Association (AMC).
The AMC also noted that there is a direct correlation between stress and the more than 60% of all human illnesses and diseases, with stress being the leading cause them and even some deaths.
Now I am certain you may have heard persons say things like, “I am feeling really stressed right now,” “I am so overwhelmed,” “My work is very stressful” “Blogging is stressful,” and worst of them all, “Stress is killing me.”
Fact#1 – Your body doesn’t care if it’s a big or little stress
Stress buster: Faith is a necessary virtue when you are going through stressful situations. It may not stop the injury from taking place but it hastens your recovery.
Stress, Is It a Reality of Life or Not?
You know what, in all instances where persons have made the above statements, they actually told you the truth, but because we hear the phrases so often, and even say them ourselves, we tend to treat it as ‘normal’ and that it comes with the territory or the package.
Again you are right in thinking of it as ‘normal’ because throughout the course of life, stress will be unavoidable and we will be exposed to it to some degree, simply because it is a common denominator to every occupation. I am sure as bloggers, G+ers, tweeters, social media gurus and business owners (online or offline), we can readily relate to this.
We are constantly keeping up with technology which is moving at a much faster pace than it ever has. Many have more accounts than is possible to manage. Some are up late into the night and up again in the wee hours of the morning. Many persons clearly want to keep up with the Jones’. There is no doubt in my mind then being plugged in all the time is a major source of driving up ones’ stress level.
Studies have found also that users, who are actively involved in social media, are in fact 14% more likely than non-users to describe their lives as somewhat stressful. On the other hand, non-users of social media are 28% more likely than users to say their lives are not at all stressful.
Fact#2 – After a while people become numb to their stress
Stress buster: Set aside at least 5 – 10 minutes at the end of each day to unwind and remember it is in quietness and confidence you will find your strength again. Also plan for something rewarding
One of the leading pioneers in stress research Hans Selye said, “Stress is not something necessarily bad – it all depends on how you take it. The stress of exhilarating, creative successful work is beneficial, while that of failure, humiliation or infection is detrimental.”
But understanding the difference between ‘healthy normal stress’ and ‘unhealthy stress’ and even the basic mechanics of them both, gives you the advantage of being more aware of, and sensitive to your own level of stress and knowing when and how to take proactive steps.
You can also appreciate that the increased awareness will place you at a greater advantage to take better care of yourself, your family members and even your co-workers.
What is Stress?
In general, when we talk about stress, we understand it to mean everything that has become too much of a burden upon us. We feel overwhelmed and ill-prepared and it is then perception becomes a prevailing factor and we see demand as far more exceeding the personal and social resources than we are equipped with. We wonder if we can cope with the added pressures.
Additional research have given a more clearer definition of stress as
- a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work etc.
- something that causes a strong feeling of worry or anxiety
- a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation
Fact#3 – Stress can make smart people do stupid things
Stress buster: “I promise you that nothing is as chaotic as it seems. Nothing is worth your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear.” ~ Steve Maraboli
Causes of Stress
No two persons are alike which is also true of how we will each react to stressful situations. Researches have shown these to be common causes of stress:
- Chemical – a result of drugs and pollutants
- Emotional – anger, fear, guilt, bereavement and loneliness
- Mental – anxiety, long work hours, lack of time, media overload, worry
- Nutritional – allergies, vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- Physical – exertion, illness, lack of sleep, travel, overcrowding
- Psycho-spiritual – financial, career pressure, relationships including divorce, spiritual alignment
- Traumatic – childhood traumatic grief, injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, abortion, miscarriage, death of a family member, terrorism and fear of crime
Fact#4 – You can control how you respond to stress
Stress buster: Every man within himself or herself has the power to choose. It is not so much what the stress is about; rather it is your attitude in your response to dealing with it. Focus on the positive”
The Detrimental Effects of Stress
In this infographic, you will find some very insightful information on how stress affects the entire body of which many people are still unaware of. You will realize that no part of the body is left untouched.
Effective Ways to Manage Stress
Based on research, it is the general consensus that the best way to manage stress is to deal with it the moment that you feel it coming on. Do not put it off until a time when the body would have already activated its stress response.
Seek to create inner balance in your body and realize that positive emotions will create coherent heart rhythms, while on the contrary, negative emotions create erratic, chaotic patterns in the heart beat.
Here now are some ways to effectively manage stress:
1. Identify the source of your stress – You can do this by noting on paper the things that pushes you to have negative emotions such as anger, fear, etc. Note also the time of day – whether early morning or closer towards the end of the work day. Next categorize your problems, them based on the list of causes given earlier. It’s a good time to remove the source and seek to find a balance.
2. Check and re-check your to-do list – You are neither superman nor super woman. Simplify your life, trim the fat off that list and remove things that do not add value or is not directly linked to the outcome of your goals. Delegate responsibility to others where possible.
3. Set your house in order – By that I mean you must prioritize. Everything cannot be done all at once. Stop multitasking – it gives a false sense that you are making progress when in reality you are not. Assign each task or project a number and start working on them in order of the one that is most life threatening and so on, so forth.
4. Laugh, laugh and laugh – Why laugh so much? Laughter is a good medicine, and humor can heal a soul that is wounded and stressed. It causes your body to release endorphins that quickly improve your mood.
5. Develop strategies that enable you to think positively – Being optimistic will enable you to cope much better under stressful conditions. This also include surrounding yourself with positive thinkers, and people who will encourage you to stick with your goals in life.
6. Avoid negative people – They demand a lot of your energy. Avoiding them is one way of removing stress and getting rid of toxins and lowering stress causing hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.
7. Embrace spirituality – spirituality is a sure and effective way of filling your life with inner peace and tranquility, while it gives you a clearer sense of your purpose. It helps you to regulate your pace and gives you a more positive outlook on life
8. Visit your church – Church is a good place to go. Hearing the word of God brings life and light into your soul and spirit and to gain natural healing in your body. You can also foster and build long lasting relationships with other believers.
9. Take time out to unplug and re-energize yourself – Social media has its advantages as it helps you build relationships and friendships but it is not worth dying for.
10. Have more sex with your partner – No, I am not promoting casual sex with just any and any person. But increased amounts of sex with your spouse/partner relieves stress and depression. Not only that, it relaxes the nervous, respiratory and circulatory system. Based on a study conducted by Roy J. Levin of the University of Sheffield, England, he reports that hormones in semen contains substances that have been found to relax women. Hence, the reason a woman feels in a far better mood once the man ejaculates inside of her.
11. Lower your expectations – Give yourself permission to lower your standard of expectation of always getting a perfect score for everything you do. Very quickly, you will rid yourself of the perfectionist in your head that’s been refusing to get a less-than a perfect 10 score.
12. Turn off the light and sleep – Your body functions at an optimal level when you get the required number of hours sleep. The fewer hours of sleep your body get, the more of the stress hormone cortisol it produces
13. Avoid chemical stimulants and sugar – The more stressed you get the more of these (coffee, coke, sweet muffins, doughnuts) your body will crave but the catch is – the more your body crave them, the more stressed you become.
Here is a post written by Harleena Singh that gives a lot of insights. It’s titled Easy Ways To Relieve Stress That You Should Adopt
14. Set aside time for family bonding – You need people who love, support and care for you in emotional and stressful times and when times are tough. Sharing what you are going through is a way of releasing stress.
Over to you, speak your mind
What are some other ways to manage stress that you would love added to this list? What are your thoughts on social media and its relationship to stress? Do you really thing that they are linked? How do you manage stress in the workplace? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comment form below…
- Coping with stress [VIDEO]