We all suffer a bit of stress, once in a while, and each person to a different degree, depending on his capability to cope with stress. Stress could be something new to you, triggered by worries of the recent war in Iraq, the political situation in the Middle East in general, or the skyrocketing inflation in prices of consumer goods. There could be a million other reasons to stress you out.
According to my computer ‘Thesaurus’ (or lexicon, vocabulary, word list, etc.) the word ‘stress’ has at least two meanings: the first common one means “emphasis” or “to emphasize” such as stressing a point.
· Pressure: force, weight, heaviness
· Anxiety: nervousness, worry, concern, unease, apprehension, disquiet, fretfulness, angst, fear
· Worry: be anxious, fret, concerned, troubled, agonize, lose sleep, be bothered
· Nervous Tension: strain, stress, anxiety, pressure, tension, mental strain
· Tension: worry, nervousness, anxiety, stress strain, apprehension
· Trauma: shock, upset, disturbance, strain, distress, damage
· Hassle: harass, irritate, annoy, bother, get on your nerves, aggravate, disturb, stress out, agitate
Stress is the "wear and tear" our bodies experience as we adjust to our continually changing environment, and everyday life incidents; it has physical and emotional effects on us and can create positive or negative feelings.
As a positive influence, stress can help compel us to action; it can result in a new awareness and an exciting new perspective.
· Increased sweating
· Cool skin
· Cold hands and feet
· Feelings of nausea, or 'butterflies in my stomach'
· Rapid Breathing
· Tense Muscles
· Dry Mouth
· A desire to urinate
· Frequent colds
· Illnesses (such as asthma, back pain, rashes or skin eruptions, headaches, digestive problems)
· Sexual disorders
· Aches and pains
· Feelings of intense and long-term tiredness (fatigue)
Internal Symptoms of Long Term Stress:
· Confusion, and an inability to concentrate or make decisions
· Feeling ill
· Feeling out of control or overwhelmed by events
· Difficulty sleeping
· Mood changes (such as depression, frustration, hostility, helplessness, impatience, irritability, restlessness)
· Being more lethargic
· Drinking more alcohol and/or smoking more
· Changing eating habits
· Reduced sex drive
· Relying more on medication
1. Slow, deep breathing will bring your heart rate and respiration back to normal. Do this whenever you feel angry or tense.
2. Relaxation techniques can reduce muscle tension. A clinic or professional gymnasium can help you gain voluntary control over such things as muscle tension, heart rate, and blood pressure.
3. Medications, when prescribed by a physician, can help in the short term in moderating your physical reactions. However, they alone are not the answer. Learning to moderate these reactions on your own is a preferable long-term solution.
4. Exercise for cardiovascular fitness daily for half to one hour, or at least three to four times a week. Moderate, prolonged rhythmic exercise is best, such as walking, swimming, cycling, or jogging.
5. Eat well-balanced, nutritious meals and try to reach or maintain your ideal weight.
6. Have a good cry (ladies). Crying is a natural body-toxic cleanser. And, laugh a lot. Go to a funny movie, read your computer jokes, or go out with cheerful people. Leave your problems at home, or in the office, for a while.
7. Avoid nicotine, excessive caffeine, too much tea, too many cokes, too many chocolate bars or cocoa, and other stimulants.
8. Mix leisure with work, or at least organize your work to be more enjoyable. If music relaxes and calms you, take your Walkman to work. Clean up your desk and add something personal. Take breaks and get away when you can. If you really hate your job, then try finding another one that you love, even if it means less pay.
9. Get enough sleep. Be as consistent with your sleep schedule as possible.
10. Develop some mutually supportive friendships/relationships. Avoid irritating people.
11. Pursue realistic goals, which are meaningful to you, rather than goals others have for you that you do not share. That means to also expect some frustrations, failures, and sorrows occasionally.
12. Love and be kind to yourself. You may be the only one to take care of yourself alone one day. Be your own friend.