De-stress Your Life

Is your life over-stressed?  Can’t seem to get a handle on all that you need to do?  Are too many bad circumstances ruining the good in life?


The American Psychological Association did a survey (2007) prior to the current economic downturn and it showed 20% of the population experience extreme stress at least 15 days out of the month.  I am sure that number has at least doubled in the last few months.


What is Stress?


Stress is the bodies way of responding to a perceived threat. The threat may be physical, being robbed at gun point; emotional, feeling rejected; loss of a job can threaten your security; or your kids failing in school can threaten their future and you perception of being a good parent. No matter what the source, when you perceive a threat, your nervous system releases stress hormones which prepare your body to take action to alleviate the emergency.


Top Ten Life Stressers


  1. Death of a spouse

  2. Divorce

  3. Marriage separation

  4. Jail term

  5. Death of a close friend or relative

  6. Injury or illness

  7. Marriage conflict

  8. Loss of a job

  9. Marriage reconciliation

  10. Retirement


These physical changes increase your strength and stamina, speed your reaction time, and enhance your focus – preparing you to either fight or flee from the danger at hand.


Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened. But beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships, and your quality of life. Long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems including: heart disease, digestive problems, depression, obesity, skin conditions, autoimmune diseases, and sleep problems.


How to Manage Stress


The word “manage” is a very important word in considering your stress.  Certain behaviors or ways of thinking can either magnify or reduce the effects of stress.  The include: having a pessimistic attitude about your life or circumstances, setting unrealistic expectations on yourself (e.g. perfectionism), not allowing yourself to accept uncertainty, and negative self-talk. Sometimes we may need professional help to overcome these negative characteristics.


Here are several things you can do immediately to reduce the negative impact of stress.


  1. Strengthen your relationships – good friends and family members who can help you think through your stresses and come up with positive steps to take are invaluable.

  2. Learn how to relax – Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing activate the body’s relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the opposite of the stress response. When practiced regularly, these activities lead to a reduction in your everyday stress levels and a boost in your feelings of joy and serenity.

  3. Keep physically healthy – eat a balanced diet, get plenty of sleep, exercise daily, and have a good social life.  These are the four basics of a healthy body.

  4. Learn how you process stress and how to make that more effective. This may require seeing a counselor who can help you make these discoveries.

Want to learn more? Give us a call or make an appointment with one of our qualified therapists today!

Larry McElvain, Founder, Discovery Counseling Center

October 27, 2020

Stress

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