Stressed Out? - Health Care Department California

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Are You Stressed Out?
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It’s something we all talk about. How many times have you heard a friend or colleague say ‘I’m really stressed out today’? Of course, many of us use the word ‘stress’ very loosely. Often we simply mean that we’ve had a bad day, and now all we want to do is get a drink, sit down in front of the Smart-TV, and chill out.

But for more and more of us ‘stress’ isn’t just another word for ‘hassle’. It’s something we face every day – a constant thread in our lives that keeps us awake at night, puts us on edge all through the day, and fills our mind with tension and fear.

Do any of these phrases sound familiar?
‘I seem to be worrying all the time.’

‘I just can’t concentrate on anything – and I can’t get organised, either.’

‘My memory is terrible these days.’

‘I don’t feel good about myself – I’ve lost my confidence.’

‘It’s crazy – I’ve got a hundred things to do, I can’t start any of them, and I’m bored!’

‘Little things make me panic – I find myself gasping for breath.’

‘When I speak to people I find myself talking too fast.’
All these things are symptoms of stress – and sometimes there are physical symptoms, too.

‘I get headaches – and I seem to blush for no reason.’

‘I get attacks of dizziness in the middle of a working day.’

‘These days my digestion seems to be shot – I always seem to have heartburn or indigestion.’

‘I find myself sweating when it isn’t hot – or shaking when it isn’t cold.’

‘I can’t get to sleep at night – my mind just keeps racing. And if I do get to sleep, I get nightmares.’

‘My face and eyes seem to twitch when I’m under pressure – it’s very uncomfortable.’
If any of these symptoms sound familiar, then it’s possible that you’re under greater stress than you think – stress that could actually be damaging your health, both now and in the longer term.

So why is stress a problem?

In small amounts, it isn’t. Many things cause short-term stress – including a lot of things we enjoy, like games, challenging tasks at work, a difficult job at home, or a really engaging computer game. In most cases here the ‘stress’ is very enjoyable, and the end result is a feeling of satisfaction – a challenge overcome, a job well done, or a game well played.

Stress can even be good for us. For example, if we find it difficult to pay the bills, we might respond to that stress by asking for a raise – or even finding a better job!

The problem comes when we’re under stress for all or most of the time – especially when this happens at work.

And that’s an ever more common scenario, because our everyday working lives have become increasingly stressful.

In fact, if the trend continues, then by 2025 around half the adults in the UK will be suffering from high blood pressure. And that isn’t just a theory. It’s the conclusion of a carefully researched report produced by the London School of Economics – and it’s supported by findings from the Health and Safety Executive which confirm that:

•Work-related stress accounts for over a third of all new incidences of ill health.

•Each case of stress-related ill health leads to an average of 30.9 working days lost.

•A total of around 20.8 million working days were lost to stress, depression and anxiety in the last decade.

June Davison of the British Heart Foundation had been quick to point out the necessary response. ‘It is important to identify things that cause you stress and look at how you deal with stressful situations,’ she said.

Combat Stress - 7 Practical Methods
Try following these simple tips

A stress-free lifestyle could very well do wonders in eliminating depression.

Here are 7 practical methods to combat stress:

1. Express Amusement And Be Happy.
Laugh hard and loud. If you don’t have a sense of humor, find someone else who has. Laughter releases endorphins (happy chemicals) from the body, and it helps boost your immune system.
2. Take Control Over Your Time and Schedule.
You’ll be much more able to deal with stress if you have a good handle on your job, relationships, and other activities. When you are in control, you are more inclined to stay focused and calm. Plan your time wisely.

Remember to leave room for unexpected events – both negative and positive. Be adaptable in rearranging your agenda. Get up 15 minutes early in the morning. Allow an extra 15 minutes to get to all appointments.

Avoid procrastinating on important or urgent tasks. Whatever needs doing, do it immediately. Do the unpleasant tasks early, so that you won’t have to worry about them for the rest of the day. Keep an appointment or record book. Don’t just rely on your "super" memory.

Do your tasks one thing at a time at a time. Focus your attention on the present moment, whether it’s the person talking to you or the job at hand. This helps you to avoid making errors - which lead to more tension and anxiety. Be patient in waiting. Anxiety caused by impatience can rise up your blood pressure.

Say “no” to requests that you cannot accomplish. Delegate trivial tasks. You must remember that you don’t have to do it all yourself. Crack a job into separate tasks and assign them to people with the suitable skills.

3. Work Out
Strive and get some habitual exercise such as brisk walking, swimming or whatever appeals to you. Play a sport you’re interested in. Aerobic exercises can considerably reduce the stress factor. Work out also improves sleep and gives you time to think and focus on other things. It also promotes the release of natural soothing chemicals in your body. Do not result to excessive exercise, however, as this may have an adverse effect and might cause more depression.


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4. Search Out For A Support Group.
You’ll be able to manage stress much better if you have other people helping and supporting you. Did you know that married people and people who are outgoing (always meeting with friends), have considerably low levels of stress in their lives?

Choose positive friends who are not worriers. Friends who continually put you down or talk gloomily about life will increase your anxiety. Invite a good friend to help you talk out a problem and get it off your chest. A long-distance call to an old pal can be great therapy.

Pardon others instead of holding grudges. Slow down your standards – for yourself and others. Don’t expect too much. Perfectionism is not the means to happiness. Become more flexible and adaptable to your environment. Communicate clearly with your co-workers and boss. Ask questions. Repeat instructions that you are given. Clarifying directions at the start of a project can save lots of time later rectifying out misunderstandings. Be honest in your dealings with others. Lying and cheating leads to stress.
5. Take Breaths Deeply and Slowly.
Calm down your muscles, escalating your stomach and chest. Exhale slowly. Do it again several times. Follow your breath as it flows in and out. Do not try to have power over it. This is a good way to relax in the midst of any activity. This practice allows you to find a breathing pattern that is natural and relaxing to you.

Make use of this yoga technique: Inhale slowly, counting to eight. Exhale through your mouth, even more slowly, counting to sixteen. Make a sighing sound as you exhale, and feel tension dissolve. Do it again 10 times.

6. Consume Healthy Foods at the Appropriate Time.
Never skip meals, especially breakfast. Get time out to eat heartily no matter how busy you are. Take nutritious snacks to the office, or even the shopping mall. A nutritionally balanced diet is essential to your health and lifestyle. For example, researchers have found that even small deficiencies of thiamin, a B-complex vitamin, can cause anxiety symptoms. Pantothenic acid, another B-complex vitamin, is critical during times of stress.

Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and large amounts of sweets, which can worsen symptoms of stress.

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7. Live Optimistically.
Count your blessings, particularly when everything seems to go wrong. Believe that many other people are living in worse conditions than you are. Don’t exaggerate the complexity of your problems.

Every problem has a solution.

All you need to do is find that solution.

Learn to be happy and to enjoy life’s blessings. Live one day at a time.

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