Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fighting Stress

Stress is a normal part of living. Without stress we wouldn't have the drive to achieve more, improve the quality of our lives, fight the good fights of equality and justice, or simply take a vacation. Stress is the spark that pushes us to grow, change, fight and adapt. All life events, including the good ones, produce a certain degree of stress -- ask any man who has been married -- the wedding is a good thing, but the preparations cause stress, mainly in the form of wallet strain. Stress also stimulates our brains, so we don't suffer from boredom, lack of motivation, and low self-esteem. Stress does indeed have some positive effects.

Too much stress, however, can wreak havoc on our body, leading to headaches, chest pains, fatigue and stomach disorders. Large amounts of stress can impact our mood and lead to anxiety, anger and depression. The effects on our behavior such as eating disorders, angry outbursts, drug and alcohol abuse and social withdrawal can destroy our jobs and families -- and have done so for way too many men out there.

Stress, the silent destroyer, can be beaten down using a few simple techniques:

Laughing: laughter makes us feel good! Doing it aloud is contagious and spreads to those around us. A good daily belly laugh does much to release stress and get us refocused. Laughing at one's own mistakes is almost guaranteed to relieve stress, but remember that laughing at others can increase stress -- for them.

Sleeping: sleep relaxes and rejuvenates our bodies. It is probably not a good idea, however, to sleep on the job.

Exercising: the physical exertion of walking, running, playing basketball, or some other physical activity brings down stress levels and actually gives the body energy.

Eating: the healthy consumption of vegetables and fruits are really good for us. Yep, mom was right.
And then there are those bad habits we acquire: smoking, excessive alcohol use, illegal drugs, and other bad habits add to our stress levels. Your body will feel the positive effects almost immediately after you stop. NOTE: A glass of wine a day is a good thing; a bottle of wine a day is not.

Of course, there are other ways to reduce stress in your life, and these are some of the best ones available: talking with friends, placing your worries in God's hands, reading the Bible, praying, etc.

My personal favorite stress-reducer is laughter. I have a hard time being stressed out when I watch The Three Stooges in action. Oh, the comic genius.

What's your favorite way to reduce stress?

No comments :