It is now known that stress can cause health problems. The way we tend to react to the ups and downs life is constantly tossing our way is going to determine what our stress level is. If you are able to let life’s problems roll off you and keep a level head then you won’t be taking on the stress of someone who always tends to worry or feel threatened. The chronic worrier is the person who needs to work to develop ways to relieve stress.
If all of the crises of life make you feel threatened then you are activating your body’s fight or flight reaction. This is a reaction for extreme situations involving survival. A reaction this strong, if it becomes your normal tendency, can lead to health problems such as hypertension, digestive disorders and metabolic problems. It is time to learn ways to relax and relieve anxiety and stress.
Exercise can serve as a way to relieve stress as long as it isn’t competitive. If you pressure yourself to compete with someone else you’re adding stress to your physical activity. Even if you’re competing with yourself and pushing yourself physically you may be adding unnecessary stress to your exercise. Something as simple as a walk is a much better way to get the stress relief you need from exercise.
Deep breathing exercises are excellent ways to relieve stress. Deep breathing can be done anywhere and requires no cost or equipment. The goal of learning to control your breath to make it deeper and slower will initiate a mind body response. You can feel your heart rate calming as you gain more control over your breath.
Meditation is another way to overcome stress. Combining deep breathing with quieting your mind will help regulate your mood and your reactions to areas of life that may be causing you stress. Meditating can help relieve the pressure from situations that make you anxious or nervous.
Learning the techniques of yoga will help you learn methods of deep breathing and of meditation. The physical aspect of yoga is a wonderful way to relax your entire body. The postures used in yoga practice are designed to release stress and tension in your muscles. Yoga is so mainstream now classes are held at studios, in fitness centers and at YMCAs. There are books and DVDs from which you can learn the techniques as well.
Many of us don’t feel that stress is an issue in our lives until we see our physician and find out that we have high blood pressure. Stress has always been present in human life and we can now almost assume it affects everyone. Investigate the method of stress relief that works for you and make certain it becomes part of your lifestyle.
Resource: Weil, Andrew. Healthy Aging – A Lifelong Guild to Your Well-Being. New York: Anchor Books. 2007.