STRESS: THE HIDDEN KILLER
By Reydon Stanford
Everyone has stress. It's a blatant reality that comes with the territory of living in our world. No matter how
strong a person is, continued stress will always end up the victor in a long-term battle. The problem with stress is that
without a process for dealing with it and venting it...it can begin to take a serious toll upon our emotions, our relationships,
our health and other important aspects of our lives. Again, everyone has stress, but not everyone deals with it
in the same way. Some people simply do their best to ‘cope' with stress while others search out and find what
is causing their stress and eliminate it to the best of their ability.
Stress comes because the human brain spends most of it's time trying to solve the problems facing us, and will OVERWORK itself
to do so. When the brain is not finding a solution to the problems before it, it simply keeps trying, spending valuable
energy and immune system, without relief. When we continually try to "think through" our issues, rather than
becoming pro-active in solving them, (at least the ones in our control), our mind just keeps stressing. Like a guitar
string being stretched tighter and tighter, it will eventually break...and our emotions will eventually snap, leaving
us with a multitude of problems.
Failure to deal with stress in healthy ways can cause emotional problems, physical problems, psychological problems, relationship
problems and work-related problems, bringing a person to the brink of ruin. In worst case scenerios, continued stress
can lead to death through numerous illnesses. High blood pressure, heart disease, cancer and other serious illnesses have
been directly linked to uncontrolled stress.
So what exactly causes stress? In my opinion it is the result of the mind becoming overwhelmed with the high expectations
we place upon ourselves and that others place upon us as well. As we attempt to fulfill the enormous amount of tasks
placed before us, (whether real or perceived), we often run into situations where we simply do not know how to achieve or
accomplish the task, or simply do not have the strength to do so. When this happens, our mind works increasingly harder,
oftentimes in circles, trying to guide us in the tasks, with little or no success. Under these prolonged conditions
the mind begins to tire and our ability to mentally and emotionally handle the load becomes less and less until we feel the
painful results of stress. It is much like a computer where someone keeps opening programs. The computer gets
slower and slower until it finally freezes. It simply cannot perform the amount of tasks it is being asked to perform.
SYMPTOMS OF STRESS
Feelings of nagging anxiousness
Feelings of depression ("My
life will never chance.")
Weight Gain/ Unhealthy Weight Loss
Fantasizing about ‘Leaving it all behind.'
Frequent feelings of anger
Feeling agitated by excess noise, smells (strong perfumes, etc.), touch
to shut down emotionally
Disconnecting from relationships
Desire to sleep but sleep seems restless
(over-eating, drinking too much, smoking, drug abuse, sex addictions, pornography addiction, etc.)
Decide to enter into a "proactive" role rather than a "reactive"
Decide to fight stress rather than trying to simply cope with it.
Make time for serious rest.
breathing exercises: (Feet flat on the floor (control), hands on lap, shoulders relaxed. Breath in deeply through the
nose and release it slowly through the mouth like blowing it through a straw.)
Make yourself stop fretting! Remember,
becoming proactive has a much better chance of curing the problem. Fretting (worry) does absolutely nothing to improve
the situation. Worry only serves to deplete your energy further.
Get away mentally and physically. Frequent
"mind rest" can be achieved by watching movies, reading books, etc. Take a few days away from the stresses
of life whenever possible by taking a weekend trip.
Take better care of your physical health through proper diet, physical
activity and vitamin suppliments.
Seek counseling from someone who can help you look for proactive ways to deal with
the things that are stressing you out. Having such counsel can be very productive and helpful.
Allow faith to
bring you an inner peace.
Learn you limits and stay within them.
Note: Almost all addictions
are the result of people bound by stress trying to self-medicate in order to deal with the stress. However, in most
of these cases we are NOT dealing with the stress but merely masking it. Although self-medicating may seem to ease the
stress temporarily, the stress is still playing havoc upon the body. As noted earlier...many diseases as well as premature
aging are all associated with uncontrolled stress.