In life we are faced with many challenges, and how we respond to them determines the way we feel about ourselves and the people around us. Change is a constant and it is one of the greatest challenges we face every day.
Stress is simply the body’s non-specific response to any demand made on it. The first stress reaction you may experience is an increase in blood pressure, rapid breathing and heart rate, and dilated pupils. These are known as “alarm” signs.
Whatever the stressor is, it requires the body to make physical and chemical adjustments in order to maintain the necessary physiological balance for survival. After the threat has passed or a change has taken place, the “alarm” signs disappear. The body is still aroused, but is adapting to the change. If high levels of stress continue, the energy to adapt runs out and exhaustion occurs causing damage to the person’s physical and emotional wellbeing.
Unrelieved stress can take an emotional as well as physical toll, in the form of anxiety or depression, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, weight gain, ulcers, allergies, asthma, or migraine headaches. If unattended, stress can seriously damage physical health, psychological wellbeing, and relationships with friends, family, and co-workers.
Stress Management Strategies
1. Time Management
It is important for you to prioritize the important things in life. Use a daily planner, keep track of what you have to do and what your are doing. Ensure you set aside time for yourself. Determine the most productive time of the day and schedule the tasks you least like to do or your hardest assignments for that time. Keep organized, this will save time on looking for things.
2. Lifestyle Changes
Start some form of exercise that you enjoy. Ensure that it is done three times a week for at least 30 minutes. Over a period of time, cardiovascular exercise will benefit the heart, lungs, and arteries and result in biochemical changes that elevate your mood and encourage a healthy self-concept. The best cardiovascular fitness program involves daily aerobic or rhythmic, repetitive exercise three times a week, e.g., running, brisk walking, cycling, swimming, rowing, aerobic dancing, and cross country skiing.
Make sleep a priority, get at least seven (7) hours of sleep each night. You may have to sacrifice social events or household chores, but don’t skimp on sleep, this time is very important for rejuvenating your mental and physical energies.
Practice some form of relaxation or meditation. Remember, any form of continuous activity is considered meditation. Therefore, riding a bike, walking, running, swimming, deep rhythmic breathing, humming a word on a continuous bases are all forms of meditation.
Try not to don’t let one thing dominate your actions or thoughts, Do not lay blame on yourself if something does not go the way you indented. Remember, everything should be looked at as a lesson.
Look at life as full of challenges not burdens.
- Associate with positive people whom you enjoy being with and support you.
Set aside time for yourself every day
- This is a must.
- Set reasonable and achievable goals.
Stress can either motivate or debilitate. Like it or not, it keeps us alive and is a natural part of life. Learning to cope with stress using a variety of techniques can keep both your body and mind healthy. Don’t let stress stop you from exercising! Talk to your Physiologist to work out a suitable exercise regime for you and a set schedule.