July 30, 2012
While stress in small amounts can be helpful in motivating and energizing you, excessive stress (i.e., stress that impairs your ability to cope) is never a good thing.
Ongoing high stress levels can cause physical and physiological illness including depression, anxiety, decreased immune responses and cardiovascular disease.
Types of Stress
- Financial stress may be a result of unemployment, foreclosure, lost investments or living beyond your means.
- Relationship stress can come from strained, insecure and uncomfortable relationships between family members, friends and others.
- Work stress may be caused by difficult work tasks or hours, unfavorable working conditions, co-worker hostility, job insecurity or a lack of opportunity for input.
- School stress is generated in an academic environment with constant deadlines, multi-tasking and intellectual demands.
- Caregiver stress can come from not only having to watch a family member deteriorate, but also many caregivers maintain other jobs outside of caregiving.
- Other sources of stress include cluttered and/or dirty living conditions, crime-ridden neighborhoods, an overbooked schedule or too many responsibilities.
Ways to Reduce Stress
- Eating healthy, well-balanced meals
- Learning to manage your time more effectively
- Getting plenty of sleep
- Making time for hobbies and interests
- Regularly exercising
- Reducing caffeine and sugar intake
- Maintaining a strong social support network
- Saying no to requests that would create excessive stress in your life
- Learning and practicing relaxation and deep breathing techniques in activities such as meditation, yoga or tai chi
If you find yourself unable to control your stress levels on your own, seek help from a doctor or other health professional.
For more information on coping with stress, visit http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/mentalhealth/stress/167.html or http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/tutorials/managingstress/htm/index.htm.