In this new millenium stress has proven to be the number one killer leading to or further complicating illnesses such as heart disease, arthritis, muscular and back pain, fibromyalgia, stomach ulcers and the list goes on. Socially speaking, stress has contributed to the growing mental health concerns of countless Americans, not to mention around the world. Nine times out of ten people snap for a reason other than the one they give. It’s usually not one particular issue that drives people over the edge. So, let’s have a look at stress and what we can do about it.
What causes stress? Well, almost anything can produce stress, even good things in life such as purchasing
a new home or finally landing your dream job can cause your head to spin out of control. Even winning the lottery
or recieving a long awaited inheritance, even getting your taxes back. Why? When we’re struggling to make it, we
realize we’ve got to keep it together in order to just stay above water. The check arrives in the mail and suddenly you have all this money. What to do with it? Well, your child’s school clothes you just bought three months ago are already stained and beginning to look washed out. You still owe your dad who knows how much money. Rents due as usual, not to mention you’ve been meaning to move. You’ve gained or lost weight and your clothes don’t fit.
The car needs new tires. Your cat’s shot records aren’t current. Let’s see. Someone in your house has been needing to see a doctor for some time and you don’t have health insurance. Besides you still owe the hospital
for your husband’s last kidney stone [the one he was certain he’d die from.} The electric company owns your soul.
Pay it or live like cavemen. Bills. Bills. And you’re supposed to be happy about getting your taxes back? Yeah right.
So, you’re getting married? Don’t even get me started. Wedding dress, the cake of the century, pay the preacher,
plan the whole thing, after party and all. Honey moon. Will the two of you spend sixty years in wedded bliss? Does
he want children? Can you afford children? Do you get along with your in laws ? Has your father decided he’s good enough for his little girl? Can your family afford your dream wedding? If his folks have to pay for it will they ever let you forget the time and money involved? Where you gonna live when you get home? Ouch. No wonder there’s so many run away brides and dead beat grooms. Like Dr. Phil says,” don’t ask why. Ask why not.”
Graduating? Where you gonna go to college? Who’s gonna pay for it? What if you flunk? Somebody, please just tell
me to shut up. Will you be able to get a job if you major in art history, but it’s the only thing your good at. New career? Will anyone buy my new book? Will I wind up buying them myself and will my husband leave me when
there’s roughly two thousand copies blocking all the exits. Shut up! He won’t be able to get out the door. Your set for life. Is the bank really going to give me a loan to open my very own thrift store so I can get rid of some of this junk?
Laugh out loud.
So, yes. Good things cause stress, especially since now that you’re about to get what you’ve always wanted the universe is going to play a sick trick on you. You must figure out how to keep what’s about to be yours. Oh joy! Therapist anyone? Coffee? Tea? Midol? What an idiot you’ll appear to be when once your prayers have been answered, you manage to loose it all. Sound familiar? The voice in your head is the voice on the page.
Of course, the good, the bad and the horrific are all apart of life. Without this balance, this ying and yang effect, we’d
be floating around in outer space. Be thankful for gravity. My father in law was in the hospital dying from heart disease. His room just so happened to be next to the maturnity ward. Everytime a baby was born the nurse would press a button which sound a ” here we go again” alarm so everyone would know junior had come into the world
again and again. Hey, when you’ve got three terminally ill family members you learn to recognize god’s miracles.
If it’s not bad enough that people are dying, family members naturally are on edge and sadly may begin to turn on
You’ve just been diagnosed with cancer, m.s. or some other not so rare disease. Guess what? You’ve still got to pay bills, but you won’t be able to function if you don’t take care of yourself as well as everyone else. This is reality. How can a human being possibly cope with all life has to offer? The answer is yes you can cope with anything if you’re skilled or become skilled in the fine art of “living well.”
I’ve known people who seem to think they’re invincible where stress in concerned. Note: ignoring an issue isn’t
equivalant to not having one. Hello. If you need to go to the doctor go. If you have a cold, take something over the counter. If you have what appears to be a lump in your breast get a mammogram. If you’re under thirty-five get it checked out anyway. You never know and what you never knew could kill you. Been to the doctor and they don’t have a clue.? Take better care of yourself and go in for regular check ups. Don’t have health insurance? Does your family have insurance that you’ll be there in eight years to continue caring for them? See if your county offers assistance of any kind that you might qualify for. Sometimes we can’t afford the best care, but many of us can afford to see a doctor at least once a year. Tell him everything. When he decides you’re not dying just yet you’ll feel better, at least a little bit. Then, eat plenty of vegetables and oat meal. Can’t commit to a diet? I don’t know anyone who couldn’t commit to an apple a day. A little less oil in your food? Cut back on the salt? It’s better to die trying than to just die. What we put in our bodies is important in reducing stress. If you’re not eating enough or you’re eating way too much, you’re putting stress on all your organs. You have time to eat if you have time to pass out.
Forget those health nuts who tell you all or nothing. They’re stressed out trying to be perfectly fit. Maybe their routine works for them, but they’re unique. We’re not all athletes. What some people call working out is actually what any professional would call training. I’ve worked out most of my life and trained a bit too. The problem is I’m not trained to be a trainer. That’s one reason I’m prone to pulled muscles. Anyone can work out.. Leave the rest to people who know what they’re doing or at least read up on the subject. There’s a reason most health articles suggest you go to the doctor before begginning any exercise program. I’ve always assumed they were targeting people who are more than a hundred pounds over weight. Maybe not. Do you really need to see a doctor first? My take on this one is if you can’t afford a doctor right now don’t sign up for a marathon unless you’re in perfect shape already and you’ve been working out regularly for an extended period of time without repeat stress injurys.You don’t want to have a heart attack before you make it to the finish line. That trophy won’t do you any good once you’re dead. Play golf instid.Or begin with a thirty minute walk twice a week. And let me save you now. If your biggest problem is loose
skin from weight loss or pregnancy you can walk every day until you’re an old person…. You’re better off toning up to get rid of all that or in extreme cases having surgery. Caution for would be weight lifters…. the idea is to reduce stress through exercise, not increase stress to the body. Be careful. Don’t over lift. Move slowly at first. Calisthenics or yoga will safely even out a femine figure and really everyone should stretch before aerobic activity anyway. That’s not to say that aerobic activity isn’t important for heart health, just don’t over do it. After ten years of watching me work out, my husband laughed at me the other day when I informed him of my new work out ethic. I’m going to lift these light weights instid of the old heavy ones. My goal now is to choose relaxing exercises. He laughed because he’d never heard of working out to relax. Well, that’s the basic idea behind yoga and tia chi. Too many of us are in such a hurry to buy back that super body we had at seventeen we may wind up doing more damage than good. If you’re pulling a groin muscle everytime you do a sit up you’re doing them wrong. Ask someone who knows what they’re doing. If only… That’s another story. I did ask someone and they didn’t know what they were doing or I didn’t understand what they were doing. Exericise done correclty will reduce stress. Exercise done wrong will only increase it and possibly ruin your credit score when you have to make a trip to the emergency room. If you’re exercising at least three times a week you’re doing something very nice for your body. You may not see the benefits right now, but if you stop you’ll see the difference and wonder why you quit. Ugh? Pulled muscles from not doing it right. I’m just trying to save your muscles, one by one. Remember, your goal should’t be impressing anybody. The healthiest goal is one designed to strengthen your muscles and nerves rather than tear them up. I learned that the hard way. Ouch!
After your relaxing exercise to release stress causing hormones, take a warm shower or bath. Aromatheraphy has become popular, because it works. Inhaling the piney woods will have you ready to rewind The Sound of Music. Whatever, your tastes or sensitivity to smell, you should be able to find a scent you won’t resent. If you have time to cuss people out you have time to relax in the bath tub. Want to do something nice for your co-workers? Come in to work rejuvenated. Want to do something for your mate? Come to bed smelling like piney woods instid of pine sol.
Your kids? Stop yelling at them. Mental health starts in your head. Your brain needs a rest. Trust me. Candles are also a nice touch. Incense anyone? Soft music or no noise at all? You decide. Let your mate relax with you? Your choice. He’ll get over it.
Now, put on your robe and read a mystery novel. Your whole existence on this planet earth has been a mystery? Mine too. Read romance. Got too much of that already and that’s partly why you need to relax? Read a journal of medicine. Just get those brain cells working, especially if you suspect at some point you may have burned a few brain cells into the oblivion. Read the bible. Just read something.
The human body is designed to refuel or collaspe. That’s why we need food. The human body is also designed to stop for rest or stop forever. Sleep deprived people are prone to halucinations, crankiness and are at an increased risk of causing accidents. Ask me, I want the surgeon who’s just had a nap. I want the teacher who went to bed at a decent hour last night. My tax man better be level- headed, well fed and well rested. Cause if he’s not with it my family isn’t getting back what we deserve. The human brain would go insane if it weren’t for night-night, meal time
and quite reflection.
The greated excuse mankind ever offered for anything is,”I don’t have time.” Do you have time to have a heart attack? Ask yourself what you do at night. If you go to bed at nine you’re more relaxed than most of us in today’s
late night society unless you’re working nine to nine. We should all try to get in bed by eleven or even ten. Yeah right. It was a worthwhile suggestion. If you’re washing dishes at midnight you need to ask someone, anyone for help. Can’t find anyone to help you? Can you find someone to bury you once you don’t come out of your coma? Reality lets super mom know she’s only human. Some people seem to be proud that they never stop. They’re not operating in reality. Life is not all about proving yourself and if that’s really your mission you’ll be in the morge
or the funny farm before you’v gotten enough attention to satisfy your perfectionism. Live well. Live wise.
I’m not perfect and I’m no slacker either. I’ve spent much of my life learning that it’s my responsibility to take care of my own mental and physical health. So, what we’re really doing when we won’t take time for ourselves to ensure our mental health is selfish in itself.
Relax. Now’ s the time.