Chronic stress is a factor in many illnesses due to increase production of stress hormones and subsequently decreased immune function. Why do we stress out?
There are two main reasons:
We perceive a situation as dangerous, difficult, or painful.
We don't believe we have the resources to cope.
The interesting thing about stress is that it begins with our own perceptions of things!
Suggestions for reducing stress:
1. Find a support network
Talking to your partner, friend or someone you can trust about your feelings and experiences can be relieving and help us work out our problems. Sometimes we just need to vent or get something off our chest.
2. Change your attitude
Life is 10% what happens to us, and 90% how we react to it. Find other ways to think about stressful situations. Think positive: “I have handled difficult things before, and I can do it again." Also, practice acceptance. We need to learn to accept things we cannot change without trying to exert more control over them.
3. Take good care about yourself
When we feel overwhelmed we tend to eat poorly, sleep less, stop exercising, and generally push ourselves harder. This can weaken the immune system and cause us to become ill more easily. Stress can deplete you of nutrients - see a naturopath who can help you with nutritional and herbal support. If we take good care of ourselves to begin with, we will be better prepared to manage stress and accomplish our tasks in the long run.
4. Learn to relax
Try deep breathing (can be easily done while driving or cooking for example), yoga, meditation or other relaxation techniques. Relaxation techniques are skills that need to be developed with patience and practice so that we can use them effectively during difficult times of stress later on.
Read Being Healthy is a Choice - Part 1