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Welcome:) Let’s take a moment to become aware. Aware of the way we are feeling, our muscles, and our thoughts. Now, close your eyes, take a deep breath through your nose and exhale threw your mouth. Release all of the stress and tension with every breath. Deep breath in, now breath out…Open your eyes. Little exercises like this can reduce stress, reduce tension, and support a healthy and happy life. Stress can have a heavy impact on your health and your life! Many people are plagued with the weight of stress. I would like to share with you the causes of, the health risks involved, and some simple ways I have found to cope.
Stress can wreak havoc on your mind and body. The Mayo Clinic suggests that it can cause numerous health problems. This includes; anxiety, depression, digestive problems, heart disease, sleeping problems, and weight gain. How many of you have been in a stressful situation? This is how the Mayo Clinic describes what happens to your body in these situations, your hypothalamus, a small area at the base of your brain, sets off an alarm system in your body. Nerve and hormonal systems signal your adrenal glands to release adrenaline and cortisol into your blood stream. This increases your blood pressure and heart rate. Our body does this as a response system because back in our prehistoric days it gave us what we needed when running from a predator or any other dangerous situation. And It is OK if it is not happening on a long term bases. However, long term stress that releases cortisol can affect your digestive and reproductive system. That is why it is important to identify what is stressing you out and find healthy ways to deal with the issues.
Everyone has stress in their life, but it is very important to be aware of the areas of your life that are causing you stress. Some examples of short term stress are getting chased by a dog, a job interview, or a suspenseful movie. These types of stress are OK because they allow your body to return to its normal function. Your heart can return to a normal rate and your blood pressure can slow down. The type of stress that can be harmful to your body is long term stress. This includes stress at work, losing your job, being in a relationship with someone you are unhappy with, divorce, losing a family member, a chronic illness, etc. These situations not only can cause emotional or financial burden, but can cause long term stress.
Fortunately, there are many ways to manage the stress that comes along with these unpleasant situations. The first way, and also a way that I practice on a regular basis is yoga. A number of studies have shown that yoga may help reduce stress and anxiety. Not to mention the physical benefits. Being stronger and more flexible is just an added bonus. There are many classes that are available from beginner to advanced. Most yoga instructors will provide modified movements for people starting out.
In addition to yoga, meditation can be helpful as well. Meditation allows your mind to be free from worries while working on breathing techniques and mantras that can be helpful in stressful situations. There are many guided meditation lessons on the internet that are helpful when you are just beginning.
Last, but definitely not least, positivity can have a huge impact in leading a stress free life. Being optimistic about a stressful situations makes it seem not so stressful. For example, I might be sick but I am going to be fine. I am a strong person and I can beat this. Looking at the glass as being half full is always more encouraging, there are many other ways to relieve stress, these are a few that have worked for me.
Not every situation is going to be the same. If the first method for stress relief does not work try something else.. Find a way that works for you. Some people choose activities such as golfing or camping. Go get a massage take a vacation what ever you choose to do. Do it! We are all going to experience stress in our life. It is important to identify what is causing the stress and find manageable ways to deal with it. Life is to short to be stressed out all the time! Find the way that works best for you to live a stress-free, healthy, and happy life.
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“Chronic Stress Puts Your Health at Risk.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 21 Apr. 2016, http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037.