“Stress is basically a disconnection from the earth, a forgetting of the breath. Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency.”
- Natalie Goldberg
We all have heard that stress can kill you. I am not going to concentrate on that, but I will say that I do believe that it can cause health problems, just look at how it affects your immune system. While all stress is not bad, the one that I want to talk about today is the negative stress that we all feel at times. Some of us feel it more than others. This kind of stress can consume you to the point that you feel it physically, for me it feels like my stomach is being torn apart.
Small things in life can cause this kind of stress as much as the big things. The key to solving this puzzle is to find out what the causes those problems and learn to deal with them. Sometimes the situations that stress us are related to things that happened during our childhood. I was picked on a lot as a kid and at times I am super defensive when someone addresses me, at times assuming that I am getting picked on. While most of it is unconscious, I have to make a conscious effort tot not let it be a stressor in my life. Some people benefit from therapy; by having someone help them sort out the thoughts inside of their heads. Some resort to prescriptions to help them out, or have a need for them because of an inbalance in their brain.
One of the smartest things I have heard about mental health is the following. Your brain is an organ just like your liver; if your liver is sick you don’t think twice about taking medicine for it, think of you brain the same way. Society still has a stigma about counseling and drug therapy. I am guilty of making therapy related jokes. I also believe that exercise, healthy eating and good living can lead to good mental health. My doctor also believes this, however he also admits that some people do need the extra help. I was surprised to hear from him that there is about a 50% chance of a medicine working to help someone cope with stress. This is not taking into account people that need some kind of medicine because of an actual medical condition. However lifestyle changes will benefit everyone.
But how do we deal with stress in our daily life, where are the tools to make it through the day? I want to list some of the things that work for me and I encourage you to post some of the ones that help you.
- Hobbies: For me, they have to be hobbies that completely occupy my mind. While they might not take the stress away permanently, they do ease it for a period of time.
- Drinking Water: Drinking a lot of water at work has made a difference. At times it is hard to remember to stretch and take a walk. Drinking a lot of water cause me to take a walk not only to refill, but to unload. Give it a try; it is also healthy in other ways.
- Friends and Family: Talking to your friends and family about those nagging problems even small ones help out quite a bit. Sometimes just vocalizing the problems helps make them smaller and more manageable.
- Humor: You have no idea how much of a difference someone laughing at what you are worried over can do. You might think a problem is big until someone else finds the humor in it. Hey, that is what friends are for.