Many human illnesses are directly related to stress, isolation, emotions, pressures from society and the negative effects of the social, political and industrial choices we are required to make each day. Stress therefore affects us physically, mentally, emotionally, and influences all our behaviors. Stress may be defined as a demand for adaptation. It has been shown, however, that we humans respond to demands not as they actually are, but as we perceive them to be. A stress may be real or imagined.
There are many types of stress we constantly face. These stress factors may be physical (exposure to the extremes of temperature, injuries, or accidents), chemical (exposure to pollutants, allergens, poisons, toxins, and drugs), microbiological (germs, bacteria, viruses, fungus, and other microorganisms), psychological or extreme emotional states (fear, anger, sadness, or a sense of loss), mental functioning (suppression or repression), as well as inborn drives to hurry, to succeed, to compete, as well as sociocultural (work pressures, crime, IRS, regulations, financial crisis and peer and parental pressure). Stress affects practically every organ in the body and if not controlled can certainly aggravate and complicate most any known disease or illness. The intention of this discussion is to summarize for you some suggestions on how you can better cope with stress and methods that have been proven to help relieve stress in your life. These methods help you reduce stress, relax better, and enjoy life more.
Stress is the response of your mind, emotions and body to whatever demands are being made on you. So the important thing is that it’s not so much what happens to you that determines the effect on stress upon your body, but the way that you respond to it. The ideal response is a relaxed, carefree and positive thinking reaction. This in itself will prevent many problems when you are faced with stressful situations. And don’t forget, there are two kinds of stress, positive and negative. Positive stress is happy, desirable, controllable, easy-going good stress like being informed that you’ve just had an increase in salary. Negative stress, however, is maddening, sad, disturbing, uncontrollable and depressing like having an argument or being in an accident or losing a loved one. This is the worst type of stress you can have, and if you can learn to face it in a relaxed, carefree, positive thinking manner, it will not cause nearly the harm to your system as to the average person.
Develop a positive attitude about everything you do.
The Bible tells us, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” We become what we think about. If we constantly think about negative, bad problems and thoughts, we are simply going to create more of these bad situations to face from now on. The Public Library is full of books that will show you how to think positively.
Tell yourself to relax totally.
By simply sitting down and taking some deep abdominal breaths and closing your eyes, try to relax all over. Sit in a comfortable chair and tell yourself that you are totally relaxing as you visualize in your mind – your feet relaxing, then your lower legs relaxing, then your upper legs, then your pelvis, then your stomach, then your chest and your hands, and your lower arms, your upper arms, your neck, and your head. Then, visualize yourself in your mind’s eye as being totally relaxed. A few minutes of this will do wonders to relieve stress in your entire system.
Practice breathing exercises to relax.
You should use abdominal breathing to relax totally. Sit in a very relaxed position in a comfortable chair with your hands on the arms of the chair and your feet on the floor. Breathe in slowly through your nose as you expand your abdomen and imagine that you have a balloon inside your abdomen, and, as you inhale, you are slowly inflating the balloon, which will cause your abdominal area to swell. Then, breathe out slowly through your nose. Pull your abdominal muscles in as you press all of the air out of your lungs. You should take several breaths in this manner, and it will help relax you. Another variation of this type of exercise is to use abdominal breathing as you inhale deeply through your nose. Then, exhale through your puckered mouth as if you were blowing out a candle. Repeat this several times.
Cultivate a good sense of humor.
Laughing always relieves stress. If you know yourself, you know what things make you laugh. If you would try to do these things more often, this will help you relieve stress. Remind yourself to have fun. This may mean going to a comedy movie or picking up a book of funny jokes to read to get you laughing. You may even consider keeping a laugh scrapbook where you can keep a record of all letters, funny jokes, poems, limericks, or anything you have collected that made you laugh. Read through these in times of severe stress.
Listening to relaxing music will dissolve your tension.
Listening to your favorite music is an excellent way to relieve stress. Instrumental music like that performed by the harp, piano, string ensembles, or the flute tend to be more soothing than vocal pieces which may distract you. While enjoying the relaxing music, you will notice that you are breathing more slowly and deeply which means you are relaxing more.
Call a relative or friend.
When hit with any type of stressful situation, an excellent technique is to call a close friend or family member and discuss the situation with them, which can help you get a clearer picture as to how you may solve any existing problem. Do not keep it pent up inside of you as it will build and grow within.
Exercise or take a brisk walk to lift your spirit.
Any type of exercise and especially brisk walking will result in very effective stress reduction. The faster you walk, or the harder you exercise, the more your stress will be relieved. This is because certain neurotransmitters are released during the exercise process for about 20 minutes. Try not to think about your problems while you are walking or exercising.
Stretch or yawn for better relaxation
Yawning itself is a very effective way to relieve stress. If you yawn and try to stretch your muscles as far as you can, this will add effects to the stress relieving techniques. If you develop tension in your neck, shoulders and upper body, the simple shoulder shrug will help relax these muscles. Bring your shoulders up to your earlobes for three or four seconds, and then drop your shoulders down and think — shoulders up, shoulders down. Do this 3 or 4 times. Another simple exercise is “reaching for the sky.” Try to push your arms upward and slightly backwards, and feel these muscles in your shoulders and upper back stretching. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds as you breathe normally. Stretching any muscles in your body will help you relax more.
Take a nature break.
If there is any way you can get out in the country, or out in the woods to get away from your present problems, even for a short time, this can do wonders for your stressful situation. It may be that going to the river and just sitting and watching the clouds go by and admiring the scenery will be of benefit to you. Even watching a video or going to a movie involving the great outdoors can be very relaxing.
Take a vacation or a weekender.
Getting away from your stressful environment is always relaxing. However, you should try not to feel guilty about not working when you “get away from it all”. When you do this, you should relax mentally, physically, and emotionally and learn to let everything go. Tell yourself that it’s okay not to work at times. The best form is a vacation that lasts for at least a week to get maximum benefits however.
Get proper rest.
Sound sleep each night is a perfect antidote to stress. To do this, stick to a regular sleep schedule and try to begin relaxing about an hour before you go to bed. Don’t eat a big meal before going to bed, and be sure that you sleep in a very comfortable environment. Also, taking a 15-minute nap in the afternoon if you can arrange it, will be very stress relieving.
Prayer will break the anxiety cycle.
Praying can strengthen your religious beliefs and provide you with strength during times of loss or hardship, which may include the death of a loved one, an injury or illness, or financial problems. Praying can teach forgiveness, patience and understanding and relieve some of the negative emotions like anger, bitterness, and hostility. This is an excellent stress reliever.
Of course, there are other stress-relieving techniques such as getting a pet ( Excellent for Many ), but the important thing is to Do Something To Relieve the Existing Situation !