No one can escape the daily stress of life. From deadlines at work to disagreements with family members, each day is full of events that bring stress into your life. We even feel stress over things we cannot control!
A recent Reader’s Digest poll found that 55% of Singaporeans point to money as their biggest worry.
All of this stress is detrimental to your health. You might think that the stress caused by major events like the illness of a loved one or loss of a job would do the most damage to your health. Dr James Ehrlich, MD, clinical associate professor of endocrinology at the University of Colorado, Denver, says the opposite is true.
“For some people, the little stressors we face every day are more damaging to health over the long term than the really big things. The sole purpose of stress hormones is to get us through life-threatening situations. Today, many people live in stress mode all the time, and the constant release of steroids like adrenaline and cortisol can lead directly to diabetes, heart disease, depression and cancer, and indirectly to bad health habits such as under-sleeping and overeating.”
The Mayo Clinic also points out that daily stress can lead to headaches, muscle tension, fatigue, and anxiety.
Try some of these easy ways to preserve your health and enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle:
- Be Active. Exercising on a regular basis supports your overall health. The endorphins released during exercise can reduce stress and make you feel happier. Choose a simple activity like a bike ride through the park or something more structured like a yoga or Tai Chi class.
- Eat Well. Choosing a well-balanced diet, full of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole-grains, and low-fat dairy products will give your boy the vital nutrients it needs. These nutrients protect your body from disease and give you the energy you need to fuel your day.
- Sleep. The Health Promotion Board recommends at least 8 hours of sleep each night. This allows you to focus and achieve the goals you set for each day. It also helps you deal with each new stressful situation you face.
- Practice Relaxation Techniques. Use visual imagery, meditation, controlled breathing, and muscle relaxation techniques throughout the day to de-stress.
- Be optimistic. Putting stressful situations in a positive light will allow you to address and overcome them effectively.
- Know Your Limits. Only setting goals you know you can meet will keep you motivated and cut down on feelings of frustration. Setting goals also keeps your life organized and gives it direction, which reduces stress and worry.
- Have a Plan. Planning ahead and being organized allows you to see the steps you need to take to meet your goals, both at work and home. Make use of to-do lists and calendars to manage your activities.
- Recharge. Plan regular intervals of time for yourself. Use this time to do things you love, such as taking a bubble bath, reading a good book, or going for a walk.
- Change Gradually. As much as possible, try to spread out major events in your life like changing jobs, moving to a new apartment, or getting married. Allow yourself time to adapt to these changes.
- Spend Time With Loved Ones. Time spent with friends and family takes your mind off your daily stressors. It also reinforces the support network you can rely on during times of significant stress. Plan monthly family outings or enjoy dinner with friends on a regular basis.
SOURCES: http://www.hpb.gov.sg/HOPPortal/health-article/270?orginalId=4188; http://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/stress-management/10-surprising-causes-of-stress-81829; http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/americas/09/30/stress.survey.money/; Image courtesy of FrameAngel / FreeDigitalPhotos.net