Stress costs! Stress leads to premature death and may contribute to the $200-300 billion dollars of medication that is taken for treating depression and other stress related disease.
As our lives get more complicated and we face a increasingly unsure world stress increases. While our ancestors that lived thousands of years ago reacted to stress by fighting or running many of the stresses of a modern society are not able to be managed by fight or flight. The stress hormones that are released into the body are real and they are designed to create a temporary burst of action. Those stress hormones left in the body without some type of release start attacking the body in negative ways.
Everyday life produces stress and while stress is often a positive motivator too much stress starts creates anxiety and depression. Here are some stress factors that show up in life:
- Unsatisfying work, bad managers, unreasonable expectations at work.
- Change of job (layoffs, being fired, or just getting a new job)
- Challenging relationships
- Lack of a significant relationship (loneliness)
- Little or no support
- Finances (low paying job, more bills than income)
- Having to move (relocation)
- Health problems (that inhibit beneficial exercise)
- Abusive relationships
- a life that lacks balance/optimization
The body may be responding to high levels of stress though increased headaches, digestive problems, sleep problems and others. Without a planned routine to manage stress the stress hormones create a more toxic environment for the body to deal with. A stressed immune system has the potential to increase susceptibility to illnesses.
Under stress people may start to experience an increase in stress related problems such as:
- Physical issues: Headaches, backache, fatigue, stomach cramps, insomnia
- Thinking problems : Decreased ability to concentrate, forgetfulness, worry, lack of detail, helplessness, exaggeration
- Behavioral change: Increased anger, anxiety, depression, loss of self-esteem, guilt, crying, lack of motivation
Many people turn to a variety of medicines to treat the symptoms of stress from sleeping pills to stronger medications. Those medications don’t address the real causes of stress. To reduce stress will take more than finding a medication that seems to work.
Stress reduction begins when you can start processing the stress issues themselves. For some people that may mean working with a coach or a counselor to work on strategies that actually reduce stress.
Steps to reduce stress (a starting point)
- Eating properly (balanced meals, lower amounts of sugar and carbohydrates)
- Right amount of sleep 7-9 hours of restful sleep
- Enough exercise – reduce the hormone build up through exercise.
- Have a support group or partner to talk to.
- Take time to appreciate beauty.
If small changes in habits don’t produce the results that are desired then seek additional assistance through a coach or even therapy. A coach can work with you to redesign aspects of your life that will reduce stress and increase a sense of well-being.
It takes time to change habits and behaviors so as part of any effort to reduce stress realize that it does take time and work to lower stress in your life.
“How we perceive a situation and how we react to it is the basis of our stress. If you focus on the negative in any situation, you can expect high stress levels. However, if you try and see the good in the situation, your stress levels will greatly diminish.” Catherine Pulsifer