Bust Stress And Live Your Everyday
Source: Open Talk Magazine 12/12/2010 01:19:00
We know it’s bad for us, we’ve heard that it can have a big impact on longevity and we know its other negative points only too well. Then why is stress so hard for us to control?
We have heard health experts and wellness gurus say time and again that we need to learn to let go of stress and regain control of our lives. However, that’s easier said than done. From the minute we wake up to the minute we are back in our beds again, our day usually comprises of trying to get too many things done in as little time as possible. There’s stress involved in getting the kids ready for school, stress in making an impromptu presentation to the boss and even stress in trying to decide what to cook for dinner. How does one define the ‘S’ word?
Stress is a natural reaction of the body as a response to events that upset your calmness and balance in any way. The body is unable to decipher if the threat is real or if it’s all in your mind, but either way the response is your body’s way of protecting itself. Experts say that a small dose of stress in daily life is actually good for you. That’s because it helps you stay alert to your surroundings, think better, rise up to challenges, be on your guard and perform at your best. Stress can even be a life saver in certain situations, but as too much of anything is bad; an overdose of stress can cause damage to various aspects of your life.
What Causes Stress?
Everybody looks at life differently and people handle stress in different ways. Factors such as a person’s temperament and attitude, confidence and sense of control, outlook and expectations from life as well as the ability to control emotion play a great role in deciding how one reacts to and handles stress. A few commonly seen external factors that cause stress are financial problems, a demanding career, difficulties in relationships and even family. Stress can even be self generated to an extent and some common factors attributed to this are pushing ones self too hard, having unrealistic expectations, being pessimistic in nature and the inability to accept uncertainty. Chronic stress can surface in a number of behavioral, emotional and even physical symptoms and should not be taken lightly.
Cortisol and Its Importance
Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the body which plays a huge part in ensuring that glucose is properly metabolized, blood pressure is regulated, helps the body’s immune system to function well and even helps in insulin release so that blood sugar levels are stabilized. It has been noted that cortisol is one of the hormones secreted into the bloodstream every time the body is stressed thus earning it the nickname ‘stress hormone’. Although this hormone has a significant place in our body, high levels of cortisol in the blood has been linked to poor thyroid function, decrease in muscle tissue, high blood pressure, hyperglycemia, and even lower immunity levels. Studies have also linked high cortisol levels to increase abdominal fat, sudden spurts in bad cholesterol levels and quick weight gain as well. It’s no wonder why we’re always being told that stress can kill.
De-stress Your Way
The only way to relax is to figure out what works for you. Listening to soothing instrumental music or a favorite song, taking deep breaths or even doing yoga for five minutes are a few ways to calm down your mind instantly. Ensure that you spend time developing and maintaining an emotional network of friends, family and loved ones who can support and help you whenever you need them. Exercise is a proven stress buster which helps you stay calm and feel better too. Identify the cause of your stress and find ways to manage it efficiently. For instance, if it is your job that is eating away at your happiness, talk to your boss about taking on fewer responsibilities and invest time doing what makes you happy. If not spending quality time with a spouse stresses you out, hire a nanny to take care of the kids or have a spontaneous date night and have yourself a great time.
Remember, this is your one and only life, and it’s you who should be in charge of your emotions, problems, challenges and uncertainties. Stress isn’t worth your precious life or health and it’s time to bust it once and for all.