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Holisticonline.com Stress Management

[Stress Home Page][Holisticonline Home]

Stress Management Infocenter

Effects of Stress

by ChaChanna Simpson

This week I am not going to talk to you about exercising or nutrition. No, this time I want to discuss your emotional health. I'm talking about stress. You may not realize it but your emotional health directly affects your physical health. So in addition to making sure you are eating healthy and using a fitness program, you have to maintain a healthy emotional state. (Goodness, taking care of your inner and outer beauty is turning out to be a lot of work, isn't it?)

When I first spoke to Debbie Milam of Creating Peace Project www.creatingpeaceproject.org, an occupational therapist, about stress, I fully expected her to tell me all the bad things about stress. But to my surprise she said, "stress is a vehicle for us to look at our lives and ask what we need to do. It's a catalyst for change and can be used for good." And all this time I thought that stress was just an indication to let me know my life sucks and there is no hope. Go figure.

At one time or another, we have all felt stress. Heck, you might be stressed out right now. You're worried over your financial situation —I'm right there with you—, you're nervous about upcoming graduation, job interview, or contemplating what you are going to do with the rest of your life. I'm here to tell you that it's okay to stress out, but just don't let it overtake you. If you don't deal with the stress, it can cause physical ailments such as digestive, urinary tract and bladder problems, rashes, heart disease and much more. (Anyone else notice that everything causes heart disease?)

Unfortunately, in our society, we always have the quick fix. If something is wrong with you, take a pill. Feeling stressed? Take a pill. Can't get it up? Take a pill. Well, you can take a pill for stress but you are not dealing with what's wrong, and on top of that, you are suffering from those horrible side effects such as insomnia, diarrhea, dry mouth, sexual side effects, drowsiness, decreased appetite, and that is just a sample of the list. So you keep feeling stressed and keep popping the pills, making yourself physically ill when all you have to do was confront what is bothering you.

Nowadays, people are just filled to the brim with stress so just one more thing will set them over the edge. Such is the case with road rage. When the car that has been riding the shoulder, while you have been sitting in traffic, decides to cut you off, you lose it. Yes, it could really make you mad because you were sitting in traffic and here this idiot comes along and cuts the line, but just get annoyed and let it go. Chasing the guy down or running him off the road and getting into a physical altercation is just not necessary. It shouldn't be that deep for you.

So, instead of loosing your cool, try to start your day off peacefully in a matter of three ways. 

1.) Milam suggests that in order to be free from stress you must first meditate or do a moving mediation such as yoga or tai chi to lay a peaceful foundation. Any act that you can put your full focus on the can be a meditation. Now, I have heard of meditating but I never seriously considered it, mostly because I had no idea of how one goes about doing it. But Milam told me that to do it right, you must sit up straight with your legs crossed. Breathe through your nose and fill up your belly like you are blowing up a balloon. Then exhale while concentrating on the breath. At first, it will seem like you can't clear you mind but that is what is supposed to happen. Meditation is the art of emptying the mind. "When all the thoughts come to the surface, imagine them being surrounded by a bubble and float them away," says Milam. It may happen that every 30 seconds more things come rushing to your mind, that's okay because it just means you have a lot on your mind. You can't hold on to that stress, you have to let it all come out. 

2.) Find an outlet for your emotions. One thing that I found helpful, when I used to do it, is keeping a journal. By writing down your emotions, you are letting go and releasing the stress. You could also try exercising or going for a walk. "The key is to make time to de-stress. Fill yourself with inspirational words and beautiful music," suggests Milam. 

3.) "Be proactive," says Milam. "Organize your life so that you don't get overwhelmed." You can keep on top of your game and limit stress when you plan and organize each day.

Sometimes stress can be overwhelming and no matter what you try, you can't seem to relieve it. If this is the case, you may want to seek help from a professional counselor, therapist, or specialist. A professional can help you with a number of methods to decrease the symptoms of stress and also help you eliminate the stress in your life. But the most important thing right now is to you enjoy this time. Sure I know it is stressful, but this is the time that we are supposed to be making a mess, so that when we get into our thirties we've been there, done that and learned from it.

Related Topics: 

Q-TIP IT!
Q-Tip is a good choice for an acronym that’s going ‘round in motivational workshops these days: Quit Taking It Personally! I have a jar of those little white-tipped tools on my vanity, and every morning they remind me to use this quick-and-easy stress reduction technique: Q-Tip It!

Let the Holidays Be
Though the holiday season is supposed to be a time of celebration and love, it often brings with it stress and anxiety beyond what we experience during the other ten months of the year.

ChaChanna Simpson is the publisher and editor of Twentity.com, the free ezine for twentysomethings, featuring cheap and free events every Wednesday. Subscribe today at www.twentity.com.

 

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