Stress Awareness

Everyone knows that stress affects his or her lives, but do you know exactly what stress is? Here are a few facts about stress that you may not have realized.

Stress is defined as a mental, emotional, or physical tension or strain. Someone can find the affects of stress in the form of having sweaty palms, feeling nervous, nausea, heart palpitations, and headaches.

You may not also be aware that there are two kinds of stress that affect our lives.

The first type of stress is called negative stress, and it is characterized by feelings of being overwhelmed. An example of negative stress is when you feel like you have too many things to do or too many things going on at one time.

The other type of stress is known as positive stress, such as when you are anticipating something and you feel excited. For example, you may be feeling the characteristics of positive stress when you are expecting a new baby in the family or prior to your relatives coming to visit.

What we must be cautious of, though, is that both negative and positive stress can be harmful to the body. Therefore, it is essential that you find different ways to cope with your stress.

Here a few techniques to try the next time you are feeling stressed:

• Take deep breaths
• Do some sort of exercise, whether it is taking a walk or doing yoga
• Meditate, and try to calm yourself down
• Take a nap: proper sleep can help eliminate stress
• Utilize imagery
• Enjoy your favorite leisure activity such as walking or golf
• Relax: try reading a book or watch some television

However, for you to be able to fix your stress levels, it is important for you to know where it is coming from. Here are a few of the most common stress builders:

• Death of a close family member
• Injury or illness
• Financial problems
• Marriage/relationship difficulties
• Work
• Major life changes
• Divorce
• Moving
• Retirement

Identifying your stress builders will allow you to better prepare yourself when those situations occur. You will be able to use your favorite techniques to help minimize your stress as much as possible.

Identifying and minimizing is key because the long-term effects of stress can be associated with a number of health problems, too.

For example, heart disease, depression, anxiety, obesity, digestive problems, and headaches can be associated with the long-term effects of either positive or negative stress.

Stress can also affect the immune system, which is why you seem to always get sick when you are feeling stressed. For these reasons, it is so important for you to find a method that works for you and to use it in times you are feeling stressed.

For more information on stress and how to deal with it, please speak with your family physician.

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