Stress is normal and you shouldn’t be concerned unless you suffer from physical and/or psychological reactions. As we age stress can increase to dangerous levels as ever changing demands take their toll.
It is unrealistic to believe that we can eliminate all our stress but we can manage it and that can be achieved by using a number of different strategies.
Can You Manage Stress?
Stress can be controlled a number of ways that include:
- using relaxation techniques,
- developing good time-management skills,
- attending counseling or group therapy – you are not alone so don’t be shy,
- gentle exercise, and
- maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle.
Stress comes from both external and/or internal factors.
External factors include:
- the environment in which you exist,
- your job,
- relationships with others,
- your home, and
- all the situations, challenges, difficulties, and expectations that you face everyday.
Internal factors determine your body’s ability to respond to, and deal with, the external stress-inducing factors. Internal factors which influence your ability to handle stress include your
- health and fitness levels,
- emotional well-being and resilience,
- ability to control your stress using relaxation techniques or other strategies, and
- the amount of rest and sleep you get.
Managing stress often involves learning tips on how to change:
- external factors so they become less stressful and
- internal factors which strengthen your ability to deal with the stresses you confront.
Don’t forget that you don’t have to fight this on your own – there are a lot of people in the same situation that can help you cope while you help them to cope.
Remember to maintain a healthy lifestyle to help manage stress – eat a healthy diet, perform gentle exercise regularly (30 minutes 3 times a week is enough) and get enough sleep.
The stress you suffer won’t disappear in a week or even, maybe, a month but it will fade as you continue to take care of yourself and do what needs to be done.
Unmanaged Stress Causes Damage
Stress can take its toll on your body, increasing your ability to catch an infection, become depressed, end up with serious mental issues, and worsen your symptoms from almost any chronic (ongoing, long-lasting http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronic_(medicine)) medical condition. By itself stress can also be a cause of numerous negative physical symptoms such as muscle weakness, fatigue, bad digestion to name a few. Your physician will be able to assess the effects that stress may be having on your physical, emotional, and mental functioning and should be able to recommend ways to combat these negative influences.
Remember to be honest about the stress you are experiencing as you doctor can’t help you if they don’t understand the depth of the problems you confront. In severe cases of short-term life stress, our doctors can talk with you about the possibility of medications to help alleviate the symptoms in the short-term. They may also suggest relaxation techniques and provide advice on stress-reduction strategies that are most appropriate for you.
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