Spend time with nature and green everyday, it helps you to feel better.
Did you know that stress is one of the most common causes of illness in today’s society? Stress is becoming an extremely serious problem for all of us. As the expectations that are made of each of us increase, we are under extreme pressure every day, both at work and at home.
Stress can have very severe detrimental effects on the immune system, which can lead to a variety of different illnesses and ailments. It can also cause chiropractic problems that are caused by tension in the muscles of the neck and back. Furthermore, stress can lead to severe tension headaches, anxiety, panic attacks, and other physical and mental disturbances.
Even some major corporations are beginning to realize the serious effects that stress can have on their employees, and are instituting stress reduction programs at their own expense.
Stress-related issues are one of the most common causes of workplace absenteeism, and corporations realize that reducing stress in their employees will save them money in the long run, because employees will be present more often and more efficient and effective while they are there.
In order to truly treat any type of illness or condition, you must first understand it. Then you must develop a solid plan for managing symptoms, and treating the underlying causes. In this app, you will learn the most common causes of stress, and how to manage those issues in order to treat the condition.
Once you begin managing your stress effectively, you will notice major changes in your life. Your health will improve, you will be more effective and efficient at work, your relationships will improve, and you will get more done at work, at school, and at home.
Chapter 1: Effects of Stress
Stress is a lot more serious an issue than most people think. Obviously stress can lead to anxiety and other relatively minor mental disturbances, but it can also lead to much more serious problems.
Stress can lead to a shocking assortment of illnesses and ailments, but we’re going to discuss only a few of the most common effects of stress here. If you’re experiencing issues that your doctors can’t seem to find the cause of, ask if stress might be causing the issue, or at least exacerbating it. Managing your stress might help reduce or eliminate those symptoms that seem to have no cause.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common effects of stress.
One of the most common problems that can be caused by excessive stress is suppression of immune function. Whenever the body is stressed, the immune system begins to lose a lot of its effectiveness. This can lead to the development of illnesses, and the amplification of existing ones.
Tension headaches are very common in people who suffer from extreme stress. They can be very painful and distracting, and may prevent you from being effective at work or in your daily life.
Back and Neck Pain
Another problem commonly caused by stress is pain in the neck and/or back. This is caused by the excess tension in the muscles that can build up as a result of the stress. Chiropractors get an incredible amount of business due to this.
Hives and Other Skin Issues
Stress can cause hives, which is a type of skin reaction that is commonly caused by allergies, but may also be caused by stress. Hives look a bit like blisters that cover the skin. They are generally flesh-colored or slightly pink, and may be quite numerous.
Other skin issues such as eczema and psoriasis can be caused by, or at least aggravated by, excessive stress. If you have either of these conditions, reducing your stress may reduce (or even eliminate) the condition.
Panic attacks are a horrible affliction than can make sufferers feel like they are going crazy or even dying. They can cause chest pain, rapid heartbeat, heart palpitations, tingling, and other extremely uncomfortable physical symptoms. Stress is one of the major causes of panic attacks.
Depression is a very common effect of stress. When someone experiences stress, it can cause all kinds of problems in their life. These problems can mount up, leading to depression. If the depression is left untreated, it can become major depression. Major depression can be very difficult to treat.
If stress is not managed for a long period of time, all aspects of a person’s daily life can be affected. If this leads to depression or other mental disturbances, or if it leads to serious problems with relationships or work, the sufferer may reach a breaking point at which they are no longer able to cope with the situation.
Once that breaking point is reached, some individuals will see no way out other than suicide. Without receiving help for their issues, these people have a strong chance of killing themselves. It’s important to not let it get to this point. Once stress levels reaching a breaking point like this, it can be very difficult to treat. If you can treat stress before it reaches this stage, it is much easier to manage.
Chapter 2: Stress Reduction Basics
Reducing stress is a step-by-step process. It requires a thorough assessment and examination of your daily life in order to develop your own customized stress-reduction program.
The process is not as time-consuming as you might think. It’s actually quite simple. First, you have to figure out which issues are causing you the most stress, including those hidden sources you might not necessarily think of. Next, you have to come up with a plan. Finally, you have to work toward implementing that plan.
Discovering Your Stressors
The first step in this process is to figure out what is causing you the most stress. Until you know which elements of your life are the most stressful, you won’t be able to do very much to eliminate your stress.
Start by making a list of everything you feel is causing you significant stress. It doesn’t matter at this point how big or small these stressors are, just write down everything that comes to mind. Chances are, if they are stressful enough for you to think of them, they are causing problems for you.
Next, you need to prioritize each of these stressors. Make a numbered list that starts out with what you believe are your most serious stressors, and moving on down the list to those that you feel aren’t necessarily as serious. This will let you know where to focus most of your efforts. Once you have this list, you can start putting together your customized plan for reducing stress.
Customizing Your Plan
You’ll want to take your list and start at the top, going through each of you major issues one by one. For each one, think of a way that you can reduce the stress that particular issue causes you.
For example, if your biggest source of stress is a lack of money, try to think of ways to make more money (such as selling some stuff you don’t use, doing some freelance work or consulting on the side, taking a part time job, etc.) or find ways to save money (such as lowing your cell phone plan to a cheaper one, cutting down to basic cable, eating out less often, and lowering utility bills by being more careful with usage).
Make a plan for changing every major source of stress in your life. Explain to your family that these changes are absolutely necessary for your mental well-being, and that you wouldn’t be making such changes if it wasn’t absolutely critical. Hopefully they will understand.
Remember, you probably won’t be able to eliminate these problems entirely. Your goal is not necessarily to eliminate the problems, just to reduce their impact on your life. If you can reduce the amount of stress each issue causes you by a small margin, it will go a long way to reducing your overall stress levels.
Implementing Your Plan
The hardest part of the process will probably be implementation. It’s easy enough to figure out which issues are causing you stress. It’s even fairly simple to think of ideas that might reduce the stress these issues cause you. But implementing the changes can be tough.
For example, you may not have a lot of services you wish to part with. Perhaps you feel comforted by having the extra cable channels. If you use them regularly, just keep them and find another way to cut back. But if your family rarely uses these channels, you’re going to have to look at the situation realistically.
If they are used rarely, they are an expense that is unnecessarily causing you excessive stress. It’s worth cutting out the extra expense to get rid of that source of stress, even if it means occasionally missing a movie or show you would have like to watch. Just rent it on DVD or ask a friend to record it for you.
In the next chapter, we’re going to look at some specific ways to manage some of life’s most common stressors.
Chapter 3: Managing Common Stressors
Most people have very similar lists. The number of issues that seriously affect the majority of people is actually quite small. Money, work, and relationship issues are the most common causes of stress. Any time you interact with other people, there is the potential for stress. And the lack of money is certainly extremely stressful.
These issues are all very common, but they cause some people more stress than others. Why? Well, some people seem to have better built-in coping mechanisms than others. Perhaps it’s just a natural, innate ability. Perhaps it was somehow taught to them or passed on to them by the people around them.
If you want to learn how to cope with these stressors in a better way, it can be learned. Fortunately, anyone can learn how to develop these coping mechanisms.
We’re going to take a look at ways to deal with some of the most common stressors. You’ll learn how to manage these issues in order to minimize their impact on your life, and how to deal with the stress they do bring in to your world.
The most common source of stress in most people’s lives is money, or lack thereof. The old saying says “money is the root of all evil”, but perhaps it would be more apropos to say “the lack of money is the root of all evil”. It’s understandable that money troubles are such a huge cause of stress. When money is tight, you may face all kinds of issues. You may be at risk of losing your car, your utilities, even your home.
Not only do you have to worry about losing the actual items, but you have to worry about the repercussions of this. For example, your family might be pretty upset with you if they suddenly had no cable television. This might cause arguments within the family. Also, if you lost your car, you might have no way to get to work. If you lost your home, you might have nowhere to live.
These are all extremely stressful situations. And the arguments and conflicts that tend to crop up as a direct result of money problems can make the situation a lot worse.
When dealing with money issues, there are two main elements at play. First, you must make more money. Next, you must find ways to control expenditures so you spend less.
Making more money may involve taking on another job, but this could end up being more stressful, especially if you are already under a lot of pressure at your main job.
You may also take on some part-time freelancing or consulting jobs, perform odd jobs here and there, start a small business on the side, sell some of your unused stuff, or something similar.
It may not be realistic for you to make more money if you’re already extremely short on time, so you may have to instead work on spending less. There are many ways to cut expenditures. Even if you think you aren’t spending much unnecessary money, almost everyone can find ways to cut expenses without experiencing too much discomfort.
Some ideas to get you started include:
– Cutting down to basic cable
– Moving your cell phone plan down to a cheaper monthly rate
– Eating out less often
– Taking your lunch to work instead of eating out
– Eating breakfast at home instead of on the way to work
– Turning lights off when not in use to save electricity
– Taking public transportation instead of driving
– Take coffee to work in a thermos instead of buying it
– Pursue free forms of entertainment
These are just a few ideas to get you started. If you don’t feel comfortable cutting out certain expenditures, don’t. Just find some that you can feasibly cut out and do so.
The point is to make your life less stressful. If cutting out a certain expense would make your life less happy and fulfilled, don’t worry about that one. Just do your best to cut spending down as much as possible without affecting your quality of life too much.
Perhaps the second most common source of stress is difficulties in relationships. While there will usually be problems in all interpersonal relationships, those that happen between romantic partners are usually the most stressful.
Your romantic partner should be your rock, your biggest supporter, the person who helps ease your stress. Unfortunately, this is an unrealistic ideal in most relationships. While this should be what happens, it rarely is. Most relationships are filled with a lot of hostility, jealousy, and other negative emotions that cause excessive stress for both partners.
One thing you need to realize is that if you are experiencing stress due to your relationship, your partner probably is, too. This leaves open the possibility of talking with your partner and working things out. Sit down with your partner and let them know that you feel the problems the two of you have are contributing to your excessive stress levels. Let your partner know you don’t blame them for the issues, and that you know that they are probably also experiencing stress.
Tell your partner how much you care about him or her, and how you want things to be better. Stress is not healthy for either of you, and it’s certainly not healthy for your children, if you have any. By sitting down together and working on the issues, the two of you might be able to come to some sort of peaceful resolution. If nothing else, perhaps the two of you could see a therapist who might be able to help you through your issues in order to ease the stress that both of you are experiencing.
It might be a good idea to sit down together and make a list of all of the things that are currently bothering you with regards to your partner and your relationship. Once you’ve completed your lists, swap lists and discuss the issues. Try to find ways that the two of you can work together to eliminate some of the issues, as well as ways to reduce the stress you feel from those you can’t eliminate entirely.
It’s extremely important for the two of you to be able to work together in order to improve the relationship. It’s best to stick together if at all possible, but if you cannot resolve your differences, you may have no choice but to leave the relationship behind in order to reduce your stress levels. Remember, this is a last resort. Ideally, you want to work out your problems and stay together if you can be happy together.
Issues at work are a huge factor in the stress levels of most people. Whether you’re the boss or an employee, whether you work for someone else or you’re self-employed, you will undoubtedly experience some stress as a result of your job.
One of the most common sources of workplace stress is the inability to realistically meet deadlines. If you feel the deadlines you receive aren’t realistic or are problematic, you will either need to discuss the issue with your boss or clients and try to get your deadlines relaxed a little, or you will have to learn better time management skills.
If other employees are given similar deadlines and are successfully meeting those deadlines, you may have to take a look at the situation and try to find out if there are specific reasons that you are not able to meet your deadlines when other people are.
It could be a problem with your time management skills, it could be that you have special circumstances, or it could be that you have an issue like depression or ADD that might need to be treated.
Another common workplace issue is simply not getting along well with your coworkers. If you are having an issue with a coworker that you feel is interfering with your work or causing you undue stress, try talking it over with them first. If you go behind that coworker’s back and talk to your superior first, you may alienate that coworker even further, perhaps making the situation even worse.
If you try to work out your differences and aren’t successful, you may have to go to your boss for help. Just explain that you have already tried unsuccessfully to work out your differences with your coworker, and that you really need help. Your boss might be able to at least work with your coworker to find a reasonable solution for both of you.
If you are having trouble at work, don’t ever be afraid to talk to your boss. Even if your main issue is caused directly by your boss, talking to him or her may be beneficial.
If you can’t work out your problems no matter what you try, you may have to consider finding another job. Since your job is your livelihood, you can’t let this kind of stress stay in your life.
Time Management Issues
As I mentioned in the previous section, time management issues are common in the workplace. They can also cause problems at home, at school, and anywhere else. If you don’t have very good time management skills, you may find it very difficult to get everything you need to get done finished in a day. This can lead to you getting behind on your work, which is very stressful.
I suggest taking a time management class or getting a good book or course on it. Even if you think you already have good skills in this area, it can’t hurt to improve them. Time management can help you in every area of your life, from work, to school, to home, and more.
If you aren’t good at managing your time, you will find yourself under extreme time constraints often. This can happen at work when you fail to manage your workday efficiently or you fail to meet deadlines. It can happen at school if you aren’t able to get your homework done on time. And it can happen at home when you fail to manage your housework and scheduling well.
Imagine how stressful it would be to have your teenage daughter yelling at you because you were supposed to take her to a party at the same time your son had a baseball game that was very important to him and your sister had planned for the two of you to go out to lunch together. In this situation, you would upset your daughter, your son, and your sister all at the same time. This would be detrimental not only to your relationships with these very important people, but also to your own sanity!
With better time management skills, you would be able to manage your schedule better, and you might be able to find a way to fit everything into your day without upsetting anyone. At work, you would be able to better manage your time each day, and you would also be able to meet deadlines more effectively. This type of thing can translate into absolutely every aspect of your daily life, and it could really help you reduce your stress.
Sometimes you may have issues with family members that cause you a lot of stress. Usually these issues can be resolved by simply talking things out, but sometimes things are more complicated than that.
If you’re having very serious issues with a family member that you can’t seem to resolve, you basically have two issues. You can either seek the help of a mediator such as another family member who is neutral, or a professional such as a therapist, or you can simply cut that person out of your life.
If that person is your child, it may not be that simple. You can’t simply cut your child out of your life without causing yourself significant guilt and distress. In fact, it may be more stressful to cut your child out of your life than it is to have them in it. In this case, it’s vital to try as many times as necessary to talk out your differences, and to seek qualified help if you are unable to work anything out on your own.
If the family member is not your child, it is still preferable to try to work out your differences first. Family is important. Having a strong, tight-knit family structure is actually a great stress reducer. Even if you have to see a therapist or other qualified mediator together, it can be very beneficial to repair the relationship rather than just abandoning it.
Of course, if you try everything you can to repair the relationship and are unsuccessful, you may have no alternative but to cut off contact with that person. Your mental and physical health should be your top priority, and if your family member cannot respect that, perhaps they have no place in your life at the present time.
As with family, friends can often be a major source of stress. Just like with family, you should first try to resolve your problems amicably. It is a much better idea to try to repair an existing friendship, and it’s sometimes easier to do that than to try to make new friends. Sadly, there will always be times when a relationship simply can’t be mended. If you must, don’t hesitate to cut people out of your life. Remember, your mental health and physical health is at stake, and they are far more important than any friendship could ever be.
If you are physically ill with a major disease or injury, especially if it causes you significant disability, it can be extremely stressful. Mental illnesses can also be extremely stressful. If that illness is life-threatening, the stress it could cause you could be immeasurable. Life-threatening illnesses, either your own or that of someone you care about, are one of the most terrifying and stressful events you could ever imagine.
If you are experiencing a serious illness or injury, it’s very important to seek help from a therapist, especially if that illness could be life- threatening. You should never have to go through something like that alone, and even your friends and family may be unable to support you in such a frightening time. If the illness is not yours, but that of someone you love, you should be sure to spend as much quality time with that person as possible. Not only will it be comforting to you to know that you spent as much time as possible with them before they passed away, but you would also be providing them with love and support in their greatest time of need.
Chapter 4: Stress and Your Diet
Your diet can actually make stress worse. If you aren’t eating well, it can cause disturbances in your mental and physical health that can lead to all sorts of stressful situations. An improper diet can actually lead to all sorts of problems in your life. If you’re eating very poorly, you could experience:
– Brain fog
– Memory problems
– Inability to focus
– Difficulty concentrating
These are just a few of the many problems that can be caused by a poor diet, and each of these can contribute to excessive stress. If you have memory problems, brain fog, and the ability to focus, for instance, you may have a lot of trouble getting your work done on time and meeting deadlines at work.
Excess Carbohydrate Consumption
Perhaps the most common dietary cause of these issues is the consumption of excessive carbohydrates. Not all carbohydrates are bad, but refined carbohydrates can lead to many types of mental disturbances when consumed to excess.
It is advisable to limit the consumption of refined carbohydrates and “white” carbohydrates such as white rice, white flour, white potatoes, and white sugar. While other types of carbohydrates can also cause issues if consumed to extreme excess, these refined sources can be especially problematic.
Try replacing these refined carbohydrates with healthier versions. Use whole grain breads instead of white, brown rice rather than white rice, and replace sugary drinks with diet versions.
Caffeine consumption can also cause problems, especially in individuals who develop a sensitivity to it. Even if you have been consuming caffeine on a regular basis for your entire life, you may suddenly become sensitive to it. Consuming too much caffeine can also lead to sleep disturbances, which can definitely lead to many problems, including the same types of mental disturbances that are caused by excessive consumption of carbohydrates. Cut caffeine down to no more than a couple of servings per day at most.
Chapter 5: Stress Reduction Treatments
There are many different treatments for stress. You may wish to use a combination of many of these techniques. The more of these you use, the more likely it is that you will see a significant improvement in your stress levels.
Perhaps the most common stress-reduction technique is therapy. Sometimes it can be extremely helpful to simply sit down with a neutral party and talk about your problems. Therapy is the first course of action for most people, but other people don’t believe in talking to strangers about their problems. Although therapy can be incredibly helpful, many people simply refuse to do so.
If therapy makes you uncomfortable, you might want to avoid it. But if you think you would feel comfortable talking to a therapist, you should definitely consider doing so. If you can’t afford to see a traditional therapist, some areas have reduced-cost mental health facilities where you can see someone for little or no money.
Most of us know how incredibly comforting and relaxing it can be to receive a really good massage, but a good massage can also help reduce stress considerably. If you get a massage from a professional masseuse, it can be especially beneficial.
A good massage can be fairly expensive, but it can be worth every penny. Many people schedule regular massages for stress reduction purposes. I suggest getting one weekly if possible.
Yoga isn’t just some new-wave mumbo jumbo or something for fitness buffs. It is a great way to get the kinks out of stressed-out muscles, and it can be extremely beneficial for reducing stress.
Meditation has a bit of a bad rap. Somehow a significant portion of the population has come to see meditation as some kind of weird thing that people do for some sort of religious ritual. Actually, meditation is simply the process of bringing the body and mind into a very relaxed state. This process has been medically proven to help return certain bodily functions to normal, and it has also been shown that 5 minutes of meditation has the same effect on the body as a 30 minute nap! You can also meditate at any time, in any place. No one even has to know you are doing it. You don’t have to chant, you don’t have to sit in a lotus position, and you don’t have to get into any strange positions to meditate. Simply close your eyes, breathe slowly and deeply, and let your muscles relax fully. It’s incredibly helpful!
Many people seek medical help whenever they have excessive stress. In fact, medication can actually be very helpful in small quantities, but it shouldn’t be used on a regular basis. Most medications that are commonly prescribed for stress are extremely addictive or have bad side effects. While these medications are great for reducing stress quickly and effectively, they aren’t a long-term solution.
You can talk to your doctor about your options, but remember to discuss the potential for addiction with your doctor before you agree to take any medication. Take it only when absolutely necessary, and you certainly shouldn’t take it every day unless your doctor makes it clear that it is important for you to do so.
Get More Sleep
The lack of sleep can cause all kinds of physical and mental problems. These problems can snowball and lead to many other issues, all of which could end up causing you stress. Most people need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night, so be sure you are getting enough. If you’re having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about possible treatment options for insomnia. Sleep is critical, because it is your body’s time to rest and repair itself.
Hobbies are very important for a stress-free life. If you have something you really enjoy doing, it can take you out of your stressful life for a time, giving your mind a chance to heal from the damage caused by day to day stress and anxiety. If you don’t have a hobby, consider getting one. Hobbies are a great way to pass the time in a productive way, and are tremendously helpful for reducing stress.
Studies have shown that pet owners have lower stress levels than those who don’t own pets. Simply petting an animal can have an extremely soothing effect on someone. If possible, get a pet, or at least spend more time with the pet of someone you know.
Stress can have an extremely detrimental effect on your health, both physical and mental. Left untreated, stress can lead to anxiety, panic attacks, and rarely may even lead to suicide. It’s very important to treat stress before it gets to that point. The sooner you start working on treating it, the sooner you will notice a difference. The longer you let it go without treatment, the harder it will be to treat, and the longer it will take to notice a difference.
Don’t ever be afraid to seek help. You should never be afraid to admit you need help. Needing help is human. It’s not weak, and it doesn’t make you any less of a person. If you don’t ask for help, you may not be able to do it alone. You deserve to live a healthy, happy life. Your family deserves to have you in a good mood when they are around you. Your coworkers deserve to have a strong employee who gets their work done. By not asking for help and not working to reduce your stress, you’re not only affecting yourself, but everyone around you. Please seek help as soon as possible. Believe me, reducing stress will make an incredible difference in your life.