Chronic Stress: Devastating for Health and Relationships

A little stress is a good thing, but too much can have devastating consequences for our health and relationships. Everyone needs a certain amount of stress in order to live well. It’s what gets you out of bed in the morning and gives you the vitality and zest to do all sorts of things, such as sports and presentations.
Stress becomes a problem (‘distress’) when there’s too much or too little. A lack of stress means your body is under-stimulated, leaving you feeling bored and isolated. In an effort to find stimulation, many people do things which are harmful to themselves, such as taking drugs.

Too much stress, on the other hand, can result in a range of health problems including headaches, constipation, high blood pressure, and in some cases even heart disease. It can also cause feelings of distrust, anger, anxiety, and fear, which in turn can destroy relationships at home and work.

People often feel over-stressed as a result of some event, or trigger. This doesn’t necessarily have to be negative (such as the death of a loved one, divorce); it can be seemingly positive (a new partner, new job). Such feelings can be acute (as the result of a death or loss of a job) or chronic (coping with long-term unemployment or being in a bad relationship).

Stress Busters
Negative Stress-management
In order to cope with their stress, many people turn to solutions that are not only ineffective but also unhealthy. For Eg.
* Drinking alcohol (it changes your mood, not your problem).
* Denying the problem (the problem will remain).
* Taking drugs (including stimulants such as caffeine or pain medication).
* Overeating (binge-eating, poor diets).
* Smoking cigarettes.
Positive Stress Management
Take a nap
30 to 40 minutes downtime will recharge your batteries.
Get a massage
Either visit a professional massage therapist or ask a friend or your partner to give you a neck and shoulder rub.
Express yourself artistically
creative brain
Divert your energies into something creative, such as acting, playing an instrument, writing poetry or singing.
Have a laugh
Not only will it make you feel better, it will make you look better too. Always have a smile on your face.
Be gentle to yourself
We talk to ourselves all the time, even though we’re not aware of it. This ‘self-talk’ determines our attitudes and self-image, so try to change both with a bit of positive chatter. Positive self-talk also promotes favorable body chemistry as it activates the parasympathetic nervous system and causes relaxation.
Time Management
What goals do you want to achieve, and what’s most important to you? Ask most women what makes them stressed, and they’ll tell you that they don’t have enough hours in the day. Time is today’s most valuable commodity. We all juggle choices, anxious to please family, workmates, and friends; all of whom expect absolute attention to their priorities. But what are your own priorities? What goals do you want to achieve, and what’s most important to you? Try these tips to help you sort them out:
Determine Your Mission
Set aside some time to think deeply, and write about your life and goals. Writing such a ‘mission statement’ is a good way to firm up your opinions about what’s essential to you in life, what you’d like to be, and what you’d like to accomplish. Write to inspire yourself, not to impress others.
Understand Where You Spend Your Time
Yes, it’s that list making time. Can you categorize your life in neat ‘important’, ‘quite important’ and ‘unimportant’ boxes? Think about your life with clarity and the priorities will clarify themselves.
Review Your Roles
Like actors, we play many roles. A clear set of roles will help you create order and balance in your life. Your roles contribute to the fulfillment of your personal mission.
Identify Goals
Begin by identifying a goal for the coming week in each role. These goals don’t necessarily have to be an activity; they can be as simple as determining an area on which you want to concentrate, such as being more patient with your children. Limit yourself to two goals for each week.
Organize Your Week
Use a week-at-a-glance diary or draw up your own chart to plan the week ahead. Don’t feel that you can’t deviate from this, however. If you plan an activity and something prevents you from completing it, just readjust your schedule.
Evaluate Your Week
At the end of the first week, take a realistic look at how it went. Where were the big successes? And which scheduling details were less successful? Learn from the last seven days and identify those times when you consciously decided to prioritize one activity over another. Do your goals need revision?
Enjoy success
Nothing absolutely guarantees instant success, but remember that you’re in control. Set aside time every week to re-evaluate your goals and roles, so you can close the gap between what’s most important to you and how you spend your time. Spending 30 minutes this way will reap immediate benefits like inner peace, a balanced life, and increased productivity. Finally, celebrate your successes.