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How To Recognize and Alleviate Stress In Your Life

Updated on March 23, 2011

Know your body, your mind, and your emotions.

A program of regular exercise can help reduce stress.
A program of regular exercise can help reduce stress.

Stress cannot be avoided. Everyone feels stress frequently. We have fleeting stress when we are running late, when we forget where we parked, and when we must stretch our budget to cover unforeseen expenses. These minor stresses can have a good result. We get a bust of energy and our bodies move faster when we find we are running late. Our minds are forced to think when we forget where we parked. We become more creative and put forth more effort as we balance our budget and cut a bit here and there to meet expenses. Manageable stress can actually help us.

On the other hand, long term or extreme stress can contribute to obesity, substance abuse, deep depression, heart attack, and stroke. If you feel you are suffering from long term or extreme stress, consult you physician and get the help that you need.

Your body may tell you that you are suffering from stress in many ways. You may feel unduly tired, have unexplained headaches and episodes of constipation or diarrhea. Your muscles may ache for no reason and you may have trouble sleeping. You may find you have an upset stomach, increased sweating, and problems with sexual relationships. Major problems may include shortness of breath, chest pains, a noticeable pounding of your heart.

If a physical checkup with your physician shows that there are no physical problems to explain your symptoms, they are probably being caused by stress.

Emotional signs of stress may include angry outbursts, moodiness, irritability, feelings of guilt, resentment, and insecurity, forgetfulness, negativity and depression. You may feel uncharacteristically dissatisfied with your job or family and you may have difficulty concentrating or carrying out normal tasks which before needed minimal effort.

If you are stressed you may eat or drink too much, have crying or yelling spells. You may begin to abuse drugs, withdraw from family and friends, and heap blame on others for your personal problems.

As stated above,, long term or extreme stress needs the attention of a professional. Minor or even average stress can be relatively easily dealt with if you recognize it for what it is and take action.

You must first recognize the cause. Is it your job, a relationship, your financial situation, your health, or your life in general? Examine the cause and decide if it can be removed or what changes you can make to minimize the related stress. Can you look for a job that will reduce your stress and give you greater satisfaction? Is it worth it to end this relationship and start over? Can you take a second part-time job to deal with expenses? There are always at least partial solutions if we look hard enough.

Now decide what you can change in your life to lessen your stress. Change it immediately. Reorganize your daily life so you always have time for yourself. Don't say it can't be done. If you want to do it enough, it can be done. Take time for some form of exercise such as walking or yoga. These are wonderful for the body as well as for the mind. Learn and practice meditation.

Learn to say 'no'. Delegate responsibilities at work and in the family. Share the burdens of your life.

Set up a support system which includes only individuals that are good listeners and that you can trust. Join a support group. Find at least one individual that will always be there to listen. Talk it out, even for a few moments. Things shared are things dissipated.

There are many ways to deal with stress on a short term basis. Stretch, wash your face with cold water, take a few deep breaths, listen to some soothing music, think positively and visualize things the way you would like things to be, live in the present and deal with what is on your plate in the here and now. Take a break, put your feet up and have a cup of tea. Play with your dog, give him/her a long rub. Hug your kids or a significant other, and get a hug back.

Dealing with your stress will give you a sense of control and empowerment. It will better equip you to concentrate on the task at hand and deal with today's problems without obsessing on tomorrow's.


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    • billips profile image

      billips 6 years ago from Central Texas

      Thanks for your comments Doodlebugs - they mean a lot to me - B.

    • doodlebugs profile image

      doodlebugs 6 years ago from Southwest

      This is good information for anyone who has stress in their lives, which I'm guessing is just about anyone. Another great Hub from my favorite Hubber.

    • profile image

      doodlebugs 8 years ago

      Great article on stress reduction Billips. We all need to alleviate stress these days.