Chronic Stress versus Just Stress
Anymore, stress is just part of daily life. We come to expect it, count on it and even plan for it. Stress can happen just because it’s a Monday! Have you ever thought of the difference between stressors? Almost all of us experience a stressful moment from day to day; stuck in traffic, the copy machine jams just before your big presentation, laundry that never seems to end. This is regular, everyday stress. It gets our heart pumping, and keeps us alert and on our toes. We all need a little dose of stress every now and again and when dealt with appropriately, it’s even good for us. There is however, another kind of stress. It’s the kind that overwhelms us. It’s more than the little nuisances that happen in a day or over a week. It’s called Chronic Stress. Chronic stress is described as emotional pressure that is suffered over a prolonged period time. Generally speaking, the stress comes from events that are out of our control to fix and is perceived to have no viable solution. With chronic stress, the body never has a chance to relax and recuperate. It can create a variety of health problems from depression to high blood pressure, insomnia, anxiety, increased pain, and a weakened immune system. Chronic stress can be a result of lots of little stressors that haven’t been approached in a healthy manner or can come from traumatic events and even prolonged illness. Caregivers of people with chronic illness are prone to chronic stress as there is little they can do to cure a person with a chronic health condition. Whichever kind of stress you experience in your life, it’s important that you take the time necessary to get yourself back on track. Just adopting one or two methods for dealing with the stress will help you even in small ways. Here are some things you can do to help alleviate the stress in your life:
- Meditate. This sounds like an activity for someone more down to earth. You don’t have to be formal in your meditation. Sit quietly, in a comfortable spot and let your body relax and your mind unwind. Feel the stress melting away. Concentrate on positive thoughts, even warm sandy beaches if that helps you escape the worries.
- Get some exercise. You don’t have to take up running; just take a walk around the block and breathe that fresh air in deeply. It really helps clear your mind and see things in a different perspective.
- Improve your diet. Eliminate addictive foods like sugar, sugar substitutes and unhealthy fats. Stress has a way of getting us hooked on these ‘feel good’ foods. They really won’t make you feel any better and in most cases, they will leave you feeling empty and worse than before you indulged in them. Stick to colorful, fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Find a friend. A trusted friend, or, if necessary, even a therapist can help you process the negative things in your life. Just getting the thoughts out of your head can make all the difference in the world.
- Take a break from your responsibilities. I’m don’t mean you have to take a week or two off work and spend thousands of dollars on a cruise…just take an hour out of the day, if that’s all you can do. Make it a useful and worthwhile hour. Do something along the lines of playing, having fun or even taking a nap in the hammock on the deck.