There are numerous emotional and physical disorders that have been linked to stress including depression, anxiety, heart attacks, stroke, hypertension, immune system disturbances that increase susceptibility to infections, a host of viral linked disorders ranging from the common cold and herpes to AIDS and certain cancers, as well as autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
This year, I am planning to develop a repertoire of ways to manage stress. I believe that stress and anxiety have been problems for me almost all of my life. I have high blood pressure, now, so I am determined to conquer it once and for all this year. And create peace, in general, in every way I can. Are stress and anxiety ever a problem for you?
Journal Questions about Stress
Make yourself a cup of tea, and curl up on the couch with your journal to answer these questions...
(1) How do you know you have stress?
In your journal, make two columns - symptoms, causes. In the causes column, right down anything you know already is part of the stress problem. A relative who criticizes you, a boss you don't like, worry about your kids, etc.
Then, in the symptoms column, list any physical or emotional symptoms you think might in any way be caused or exacerbated by stress. Like the headache that starts as soon as you get to work, or the stomachache you have when someone you care about is angry with you.
No one can avoid all stress, but you can counteract its detrimental effects by learning how to produce the relaxation response, a state of deep rest that is the polar opposite of the stress response. The relaxation response puts the brakes on stress and brings your body and mind back into a state of equilibrium.
(2) Is there anything you already know helps you release stress?
Taking a walk, or having a cup of chamomile tea. From what you already know works, make a list and figure out where you could put these things into your schedule. What would work best where?
(3) What 5 tools or techniques would you like to try this year to lessen your stress?
I'll share some ideas over the next few weeks and tell you how they can help. But what you are already interested in trying is more likely to work. So Google some of the ideas you already have and try one or two.
See you next week! (I'm taking weekends off)