“Damn, what a day I had?” How many times have you said something like this? How many times have you felt the nagging sensation of being overwhelmed, emotionally drained and completely frazzled beyond comprehension? How often do you burn the candles at both ends, just hoping that your wick wont burn out before the day is through? The straight facts and statistics about stress indicate overwhelmingly that we are a society, dealing with too much stress in our daily lives. This stress, often seen and perceived as ‘just a part of life’ is literally killing us in more ways than one. Sadly, people everywhere seek vacations to get away from it all – only to stress over paying for them and spend their time away worrying that the bottom of life will fall out at home. Check out the latest statistics on stress, complements of the American Psychological Association. (The sheer fact that the Psychological Association delvers this information proves that stress is in fact, a mental illness) And for many, an addiction and silent indicator that they are doing ‘well’ in life.
2/3rds of the populations admits, openly to suffering from stress DAILY! Much more than half of all people, worry that their stress levels are serious and almost 75% if all people will week some sort of medical help (both emotionally or physically) because of stress in their lives. Of all the stresses that people experience, job stress makes up for more than half of the problems people have, and 87% of the polled population stress DAILY about finances. See…you are not alone!
25% of the employed population routinely takes ‘mental health days’ off from work so that they can recoup. Over 121 million people suffer from DIAGNOSED depression, and are taking medications for it, and stress is the number one cause of the mental disease. This doesn’t even account for the huge percent of the population walking around with depression that do not seek any outside help or medications. Around 20 million Americans alone have anxiety and panic attacks routinely in their lives. More people than ever before are being diagnosed with alcohol and drug addictions in suburbia culture likely as a result of stress in their lives. Disturbingly, the numbers escalate from their and the health issues alone – from high cholesterol, heart disease and diabetes to every day common colds and illnesses can almost all be attributed to stress.
Indeed, look up nearly every illness you can think of, including cancer and you will see that one of the high-ranking symptoms or causes is stress. Many people just don’t understand the link between the body and the mind and are naïve about how wholly and dramatically stress affects them. They forge ahead, move on, continue on the same path until something as severe as a heart attack, stroke or accident literally FORCES them to slow down and take a breath. At the same time as all of this illness and disease is being blamed upon stress, millions of stress relieving, stress busting exercises and advice has become widely sought after and attempted in the desperate attempt to get stress under control. Is it easy to stop stressing? No! However, if you are suffering from stress you have to ask yourself what it is you get out being so stressed out.
Women suffer from stress three times more commonly than men do. Perhaps it’s something in the Venus and Mars makeup that makes women so stressed out. However, stress can only exist if it is allowed to exist. So many people rushing their kids here and there, working 10 hours a day, getting second jobs, building the nice house that are engaged in the rat race of life have seemingly accepted the idea that stress means they are successful. They push their bodies and minds to such an extent, that eventually it will break. And for what? Money, because it certainly isn’t peace of mind. These same people have been living with the adrenaline rush of stress in their lives so long that it has become second nature and they feel naked, stripped of their resources with out it. Sure, they talk about it and even acknowledge that stress exists. Yet they feel powerless and unmotivated to make any changes in their life style that would ensure them a better way of life.
Stress affects the body because each time you feel nervous, stressed out, frustrated, sad, worried or any of the other uncomfortable emotions, hormones are released. You can liken them to the way a Mustang feels when they hear and feel the vibrations of a helicopter used for harnessing appears over the open pasture. Just like the horses, you immediately go into fight or flight mode. This mode is exhausting and is innately only meant to be used when you are in danger or sick. Your body starts a million chemical reactions that weaken your immune system and literally poison your blood stream with toxins. Every once in a while, this would be okay. You would be able to recover nicely, still scarred like the Mustangs, but able to function again. But the daily dose of many stressors keeps your body in this state and wears away at all the human mechanisms in place to help you stay emotionally and physically well. Then one day, you break! For many people though this ‘one day’ comes when it is too late. Cancer has already taken hold or they have a major stroke and are left paralyzed. For what? Because you wanted to get your child to baseball practice on time.
The stress way of life isn’t supposed to be normal. Let’s add the societal advances in technology to our life. You have to check Facebook, you have to answer emails, you have a cell phone that rings every time you get a moments peace. Basically, you are always on call and are pressuring your body and mind to perform 24/7, without break and without a day off. The funny thing is that technology is supposed to make life easier for us, but the actuality is it has made the simplicity of life much, much harder. So, you join a gym, take a few yoga classes maybe even spend 10 minutes every morning meditating. Then, you are stressed over fitting all those stress busters into your life and it just becomes a wash.
Perhaps one of the most disheartening aspects of a life infused with so much stress is that children tend to take it on as well. When it becomes a way of life for parents to be constantly fretting and worried – children believe that it is the way to live. They too have many stressors in their life, from friends to school and extra curricular activities. To come home to parents that are too tired to engage with them doesn’t give them much of an outlet for their own stress. This could be just one of the many reasons that children are having exasperated health problems at such young ages. The stress felt by adults comes full circle to children and is passed on as innocently as genes. Do you really want your children to learn that from you?
Solutions to Stress!
There are numerous solutions to stress in your life. And the simple fact is that you are already more than aware of most of them. Following your dreams, doing things you enjoy and taking time out to ‘smell the roses’ can go a long way to making your life less stressful. Realizing what you can change in your life and what you cannot is a big first step. Worrying less and coming to terms with the likeness of “it is what it is” will also help you keep your stress down. Prioritizing and making yourself, your family and your personal interests a top priority are welcome changes to de-stress your life. In addition to that, you must be able to find a secure way to balance your stress and your enjoyment. You shouldn’t have to plan some big escape, just to get rest. You should be able to come home and leave the other parts of your world in their place.
Of course, diet and exercise are also important. Again, you know all this! You are simply choosing not to do it. There are millions of things that you could do right now, to make your life less stressful. Your reasons for not doing them just aren’t good excuses anymore. For most people, they have to begin with finding out the internal reasons that they put up and even encourage stress in their lives. When you are able to decipher what it is you get from the stressful lifestyle – you will be able to replace it with something better and healthier for you. Fooling yourself into thinking that you have no control over feeling exasperated and overwhelmed just proves that at some level, you are addicted to the adrenaline that stress produces.
It’s amazing that more than half of society is accepting the fact that their lives are too stressful. It’s ridiculous that good people, just like you, are allowing their lives to be taken over by aspects that offer them so much stress and ill feelings. Choose to end the cycle. Choose to find something easy, natural, and enjoyable for you to help cure you of this infectious addiction that can end up ruining or even ending your life.
Stress isn’t always a bad thing. However, when it becomes all encompassing any of the positive side effects are lost. The human body and mind is only equipped to handle so much stress before it breaks. It is as simple as blowing too much air in a hot balloon and expecting it to hold it all. It just can’t, no matter how hard you try to force more and more in. Instead of making excuses and choosing this lifestyle – choose to enjoy your days. Choose to take on an optimistic attitude and a positive approach to your life. Choose to find passion again, to live, and love with as much energy as you currently choose to feel overwhelmed. Your life will be transformed.
You can’t use the excuse any longer that you don’t know how to change. You do. Surf the net, do a little research, find something that works for you which can help you transform stress in your life. The information is there and it has been confirmed by every health agency today. Stress will and is slowly killing you. So – choose to live, and choose to live free of stress.