- Mental Health
The Effects of Stress - and How to Reduce Stress in Your Life
What's So Destructive About Stress?
The effects of stress aren't always obvious - they're often hidden. And the problem with this is that stress can be deadly.
What is Stress?
Stress is a result of the way your mind reacts to outside influences.
What are the physical results of Stress?
Some of the many physical results of stress include an internal response that inhibits the growth and productivity of your body, mind and spirit. Your body puts itself in protection mode whenever you are stressed. This causes your body to pump out "fight or flight "hormones (among other things), and these repress activity in your prefrontal cortex (the center of conscious activity). It also takes oxygenated blood away from your visceral organs and concentrates it in your extremities, potentially starving your organs.
So, stress is far more than just a feeling. It is a physical crisis.
Here are some sobering facts about Stress:
* According to scientific predictions, by the year 2020, mental disease will have become the second leading cause of disabilities. This includes stress-related disorders as a significant portion of the problem.
* The disability caused by stress is just as great as the disability caused by workplace accidents or other common medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and arthritis. Stress-related disorders can result in the same level of disability as other common medical conditions along with diabetes, arthritis and accidents in the workplace.
Source: The World Health Organization (WHO) Global Burden of Disease Survey:
* More than 40% of all adults suffer adverse health effects as a result of stress.
* More than 75% of all visits to primary-care physicians are for stress-related complaints or disorders.
* Interestingly (and scarily), stress has been shown to play a role in all of the leading medical causes of death. Heart disease,lung ailments, cancer, and even accidents have all been linked to stress.
* Over 50% of work days lost each year is attributed to stress.
* Approximately 80% of the health-related problems in technologically-advanced countries are stress related.
Source: The American Stress Institute.
Now that we have a clearer picture of just how dangerous and destructive stress can be, we'll tackle the variety of ways available to lower stress, and even eliminate it altogether.
The resources on this hub are suggestions only, and of course are not medical treatments. If you're concerned about your health at all, PLEASE see your doctor first!
Some of the suggestions here will work for some and not for others. It's a case of trial and error to find what works best for yourself.
Please don't hesitate to use the comment box to ask any questions, or to contribute your own suggestions for stress reduction.
10 Effective Ways to Reduce Stress Now
If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment. ~ Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
1. Stop. Stop and ask yourself this question, in the middle of a stressful situation. "How will this impact my life a year from now?" Most stress is caused by our unrealistic fear of circumstances that we won't even remember a year from now, never mind be affected by them.
2. Stop. Stop and ask yourself "What is the worst that can happen if I don't (fill in the blank)?" This can very often help to replace unrealistic fear with more realistic realisation. For example, if you're running late for a meeting, what is the worst that could happen if you don't get there on time? Very often our urgency is an automatic response rather than a calculated one.
3. Take some time out for yourself regularly. Stress can build due to not having enough time to regenerate and strengthen yourself. Have a bubble bath, go for a walk, watch a comedy, listen to some music, go to a coffee bar and read a book, go dancing, take up karate. Whatever it is that makes you feel good - PRIORITISE it! There will ALWAYS be at least a couple of things in your day that don't HAVE to be done. The consequences of not doing these things will not be minor, but the consequences of not regularly doing something you enjoy can be Disasterous!
4. Treat yourself as you would someone you love who is going through a rough time. Give yourself a break. Remember, your health could be depending on it. Take it easy on yourself.
5. SLEEP!!! If your alarm clock has to wake you in the morning, you're not getting enough sleep. You'll know when you're going to bed early enough when consistantly wake before your alarm goes off, and you find it easy to get up. Most people are suffering from sleep depravation and don't know it.
One of the side effects of sleep depravation is Increased Stress! It makes sense. During good deep sleep, the body and mind are cleaned. problems and information are processed, organs are deep-cleaned and healing (physical, emotional and mental) accelerates. If these processes are consistantly interrupted, the effects can clearly be devastating over time.
When you're feeling stressed, if you are able to sleep for an hour or two, it can be extremely effective!
6. Watch the movie "The Secret" or read the book. (See the links section below for website address). There is an enormous amount of information, tools and methods covered in "The Secret" which can help to change your perspective - which will in turn help to lower stress levels.
7. Meditation. There are many resources online and in libraries which cover the wide variety of meditation methods. Meditation isn't for everyone (I have to admit I've never been able to sit still for that long lol), but if you are able to practice it, it is one of the best solutions for stress.
8. PATHS (Program Authoring The Human Subconscious). This is a new technology which programs the subconscious mind by delivering millions of instructions and cues to it in three minutes.
When you use PATHS, all the necessary instructions for you to not only resist stress, but to let potentially stressing situations just roll like water off of your shoulders, are there. PATHS can provide you with support in your desire to produce a more positive and confident attitude, as well as giving you the help you need to create and maintain your healthy life-force energy. See the link below for the PATHS website and more information.
9. Laugh!! Laughter does more than express an appreciation of humour - it releases "happy chemicals" in your brain, boosts your immune system, and litterally is a kind of medicine! Watch a comey movie or T.V. program, read a funny book, look up some funny stuff on YouTube or humour websites. Try and find humour in situations you wouldn't normally.
10. Keep a Gratitude Journal. Writing down things that you feel happy about - even simple things like the fact that it's sunny, or that you saw a beautiful butterfly - will help to alliviate stress and to put things in a better perspective.
Useful Links for Dealing With Stress
- American Institute of Stress is dedicated to advancing understanding of Stress in Health and Illness
American Institute of Stress is a non-profit organization which imparts information on stress reduction, stress in the workplace, effects of stress and various other stress related topics.
- PATHS | Just Relax ~ Stress Reduction
This Module is designed to assist your mind in preventing the energetic build up of stress, and to help you in achieving a mind state of peace and calm.