Whether the source of your stress stems from your home, workplace, finances, or other external/internal pressures, the effects of stress can become physically, emotionally and psychologically hazardous to your health.
Stress is difficult to define because it is a very subjective problem. What may be stressful for one person may have virtually no adverse affects on someone else. Response to stress is also individualized. Not everyone reacts to stress the same way. Because of this, scientists and medical professionals have created a list of symptoms that are usually related to stress. In doing this, they can identify certain markers or symptoms and attempt to properly diagnose the cause of the symptom (stress).
One very common symptom associated with and induced by stress is insomnia. Insomnia is a very common sleep disorder that keeps you awake for extended periods night after night. Stress affects the levels of certain hormones in the body. High levels of these hormones can make sleep more difficult. The sleep problems that stress creates may ultimately lead to sleep deprivation. Insufficient sleep can potentially worsen your dilemma by further exacerbating whatever situation is causing your stress in the first place.
As far as learning how to manage your stress personally, the best answer is to find ways to relieve some of the stress in your life. Below are some simple suggestions that may potentially work to reduce the stress in your life.
- Unplug – Turn off the cell phone, power down your computer. Today, many people feel that they are ‘on call’ all the time. Sever the ties and enjoy some quiet time. Grab that book you’ve been meaning to read and head to the park, or just stay at home and relax in a comfy spot. Enjoy a little peace and quiet.
- Start saying No – Most people are pulled in about 20 different directions all of the time. Help out here, volunteer there…while they are all good causes and they all need help, you aren’t the end all answer for them all of the time. Today, many people volunteer or serve simply because they feel obligated to do so. If you volunteer somewhere, do it because you want to and enjoy it. Learn to say no every once in awhile and use the time doing something you enjoy.
- Exercise – You don’t necessarily need to go enroll in a gym or start a detailed exercise regime. Just get out for a walk, take a bike ride or go for a swim. Whatever type of physical activity you enjoy; get out and do it. Exercise is an excellent way to relieve stress. Physical exertion is also a great way to ward off insomnia as well.
- Positive Thinking – It may not sound like much, but it is helpful. This may be hard in the beginning, especially if you are a cynical person, but give it a try for a few days. Stress and anxiety is tiring. Positive thinking enables you to overcome your anxiety and find happiness and serenity. You may find that simple mundane things that caused stress before no longer adversely affect you.
- The Big Picture – When something starts ‘stressing you out’, take a step back and evaluate it in light of everything else going on in the world. Is it really significant enough to cause problems for you? In the grand scheme of things, how important were those two or three extra minutes that you had to wait in line at the store? Let the little things slide.
This certainly isn’t a comprehensive list of ways to reduce stress in your life. They are merely a few suggested methods for lowering stress. There are many more symptoms of stress that should be monitored in your life such as:
- Rapid weight loss/gain (without an intentional diet)
- Frequent headaches
- Gritting teeth, clenching jaw
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Increased anger, frustration, hostility
- Depression, frequent or wild mood swings
- Neck ache, back pain
- Constant fatigue