Stress has very real and very negative effects on our lives. Physically, it can cause heart problems, high blood pressure, back pain, digestive problems, fatigue, skin problems, and a whole host of other issues. It's mental effects are just as bad: depression, anxiety, mood swings, irritability, insecurity...the list goes on and on.
Everybody has stress in their life. Some people, of course, have more than others, whether that's due to finances, family situations, or their work. At times, people almost seem to be bragging about their stress, as if it shows how important they are that so much is riding on them. But stress is nothing to be proud of, as some of the effects can become serious enough to kill. While many of the following tips on handling stress won't directly affect the amount of stress in your life, it turns out that the amount doesn't really matter. How you deal with it (or don't) is what actually kills you.
The first step to handling stress well is to pinpoint the true cause. When we start to feel stressed, it's easy to become overwhelmed and to feel like every aspect of our lives is spinning out of control. In reality, there is probably only one major event that is causing the bulk of the stress. By focusing on that, you can diminish the effect that your secondary worries are having on your health by putting them back into perspective.
Finding some quiet time is also an essential part of dealing with stress. While reading a book, going on a walk, or doing some yoga stretches might seem like a waste of time that could be better spent trying to tackle the issues facing you, giving your mind a break is the best thing you could do for the situation. You need to make time for things that are going to help you relax and take your mind off your problems for a little while.
Eating better is another way to combat stress's symptoms. After a while, stress starts to wear you down. Eating unhealthy foods only contributes to that feeling of overall unwellness. Eat fresh as much as possible and make sure you have lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet. This may not fix any of your problems immediately facing you, but it will make you stronger and healthier, and thus more able to confront your problems head on.
Many people with chronic stress try to bottle it all up and pretend that everything is fine. Talking it out with someone else can help you problems seem more manageable. Better yet, arrange to have a home cooked meal with friends or family on a regular basis, and you can cover two of these tips at once. How's that for time management?
Life is full of stress. By backing off and taking a break now and then, you might feel like you're slacking and letting your problems get ahead of you. What you are really doing is handling your stress in a healthy manner that is less likely to cause you health problems. It's not your stress that's killing you, it's how you're dealing with it.