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The cost of stress
Stress ages us. It weakens our immune system, making us more susceptible to illnesses. Stress is also linked to heart attacks, ulcers, muscle and tendon injuries and just about everything else that ails us.
A growing problem
Modern life is increasingly stressful. Between economic problems, environmental threats, the ever present messages in broadcasts and emails, it can be hard to relax. Nothing can guarantee a stress-free life, but there’s much we can do to minimize our anxieties, stay calm and optimistic, despite the challenges life throws our way.
Avoid counter-productive escapism
It’s easy for any of us to fall into habits that temporarily avoid facing stress. This may include:
- zoning out in front of the TV
- withdrawing from family and friends
- taking out our anger on others
- filling all our time with business to avoid facing troubling emotions
- We can replace escapist stress avoiders with healthier habits.
How to relax
Whenever you feel stress, remind yourself that the stress itself is not helping. Take the actions you need to fix the situation, and make your best effort to let go of the stress and feel relaxed. With time, this gets easier.
In the long run we get more done if we also take some time to just relax.
Ironically, when we accept that things don’t always go our way, in the long run it’s more likely that they will. We’ll be calmer and find it easier to sustain our efforts. We’re less likely to suffer depression or burnout.
Seek someone you trust to talk with about your problems. Just having someone who cares and listens helps us feel better, and they may have a fresh viewpoint with helpful suggestions. For more serious problems, many people benefit from professional psychotherapy.
Exercise relieves stress, helps us lose weight and sleep better. It also relieves anger and frustration. Exercise also releases endorphins, a hormone that helps us feel good and reduces pain. Be sure to speak to your doctor before starting and new, more vigorous exercise programs.
Many people have trouble sleeping. This is often caused by stress and can also lead to more stress.
If you have chronic insomnia, you may have tried many suggestions already. You may still benefit from these two websites with a multitude of ideas to make it easier for you to sleep through the night.
This whole article is interesting, though the most practical suggestions are further down in the web page: http://helpguide.org/life/insomnia_treatment.htm It also includes many links for additional info.
I also suggest: http://www.healthpsych.com/articles/insomnia.html
Chamomile, a gentle herbal tea, is available at most many food markets and any health food store. It may also make you sleepy.
Many of these suggestions have helped me. I hope they help you.
The bigger picture
As we do our part to help make a better, safer, more sustainable and beautiful world, we’ll feel better about ourselves, and help create a world with less to worry about.