Stress is a major factor in illness.
Stress is an important factor in the vast majority of illnesses, both directly and indirectly. Stress can have a negative impact on just about every part of your body. It can suppress your immune function, cause a heart attack or stroke, increase your risk of cancer, delay wound healing, promote inflammation, cause you to gain weight, impair your memory, cause depression, exacerbate diabetes, and worsen your sexual function . . . just for starters. Stress also makes you age faster even at a genetic and cellular level.
Life is becoming increasingly difficult
A lot of people are feeling that life is increasingly difficult as our world seems to be spiraling out of control. We watch helplessly as parts of our globe descend into madness and terrorism, and our governments seem increasingly unresponsive to individual needs. Our lives have become more complicated and we are constantly bombarded with information through television, printed materials and the internet. Rather than having quiet family time in the evening, our families are scattered doing different activities.
Stress comes from what is going on inside
Stress comes not only from what is going on in your life, but even more important from how you react to it. When you practice simple stress management techniques, on a regular basis, you can be in the same job, the same environment, even the same family but react in more constructive and healthful ways.
Stress management tools assist us in reducing stress.
Stress management techniques assist us in responding to the stresses in our lives in a detached and constructive way. Rather than reacting to events in our lives with fear and contraction, we can respond to them with awareness, love and creativity. There are many stress management techniques that can be applied and even become our habitual way of being.
We can address stress through physiological techniques such as breathe management, exercise, yoga and relaxation techniques or through psychological techniques such as meditation and conscious introspection. These techniques assist us in releasing accumulated stress and tension and bring about a greater awareness of how we create stress and tension through our mental, physical and emotional reactions to events in our lives.
Deep breathing provides instant stress reduction.
Breathing techniques are one of the quickest and easiest ways to break the cycle of stress. If you slow down and deepen your breath, you will automatically become more relaxed. When you breath slowly and deeply, it initiates a relaxation response in the nervous system and helps you to become more aware of your reactions.
Awareness is a key component in reducing stress.
This week, take some time to contemplate the following:
- What are the things in your life that cause you to feel stressed?
- What do you do when you feel stressed?
- Observe yourself over the next week and notice your stress level, what causes you to feel stressed and what you do when you feel stress.
- Consider health ways to address your stress, such as exercise, journaling, breathing, talking it out with a friend.
- Experiment with addressing your stress in new ways.
Share your questions, successes and thoughts below.