Stress will always be a part of our lives. Our jobs, family and school all have some stress related to them. Stress can be positive and spur you to find the answer to a problem or achieve an important goal. But when stress is negative, it can leave you tired, angry, frustrated and depressed.
Ongoing unrelieved stress can lead to physical and emotional problems.
Stress that builds up in a person over a long time – chronic stress – can contribute to increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke, according to the Clinical Director at Peninsula. Stress may also contribute to ulcers, asthma, allergies, colitis and migraine headaches.
Studies show that individuals under great stress are less effective on the job and more likely to get sick and miss valuable work time. Stress can cause a normally good-natured person to become irritable, and it can hurt the way people relate to their co-workers, family and friends.
Peninsula admits that it is not always easy to avoid stress, but there are ways to reduce unnecessary stress and to learn how to control harmful responses.
Top Ten Stress-Busters
- Try not to “self-medicate” with diet formulas, alcohol or over-the-counter medications. Covering up a problem can make the stress even worse. Medications such as tranquilizers or sleeping pills ordered by your healthcare provider should be used as they are prescribed.
- Do something just for yourself. A trip to the hairdresser or barber, or having a therapeutic massage can do wonders when you’re under a lot of stress.
- Eat at least one hot meal a day. Good nutrition is important because it gives your body the fuel it needs to deal with daily stress and hassles.
- Share how you are feeling with someone you can trust and who will listen to you, such as a family member, friend, healthcare provider or clergy. There is an old saying that “a joy shared is doubled and a sorrow shared is halved.”
- Exercising at least three days per week for at least 30 minutes each time improves your fitness and your sense of well-being.
- If you are a smoker, stop smoking and start breathing clean air. Smoking and stress are a dangerous combination. Your healthcare provider can help you find a smoking reduction or cessation program.
- If you are a coffee or cola lover, cut down on these and other drinks that contain caffeine.
- Learn and use meditation or relaxation exercises. Check with your local community center or community college to see if training is offered for yoga, meditation, tai chi, biofeedback or other stress-relieving activities of interest to you.
- We all have heard the adage, “laughter is the best medicine.” It is. Laughing releases chemicals in the brain that help promote a relaxation response. Rent a comedy from the video store. Share it with friends and laugh your stresses away.
- Get regular physical exams. Your healthcare provider can spot health problems related to stress and can provide you with suggestions and may refer you for any problems related to stress.
Peninsula provides a continuum of the highest quality, affordable mental health and alcohol/drug treatment programs in both inpatient and outpatient settings. For more information, please call (865)970-9800.