Dealing With Stress

July 11, 2008

Stress affects everybody and anybody these days. There is a persistent prejudice that only grown-up adults are prone to stress. In the fast-paced life of today, anybody from a child of ten to a person of eighty can experience different levels of stress. Here are some ways of identifying and dealing with stress.Stress symptoms include mental, social and physical changes that a person experiences. These include exhaustion, headaches, crying, sleeplessness, oversleeping, loss of appetite and feelings of frustration, rage, apathy.

If you feel that you are stressed out and this stress is interfering with your normal activities then you must seek professional guidance. Sometimes, dealing with stress can be easy and you can do it on your own. Look around and see whether you can change, the situation that you are in. Set realistic goals for yourself so that you reduce the number of events that are going on in your life. It stops the circuit overload that you experience. This can sometimes become very serious and can cause a nervous breakdown.

More tips include;

1) Prioritize the series of events that go on in your life.

2) Do not fret over the entire workload. Instead, dissect it in small bit and pieces and perform them one by one.

3) Meditation and breathing exercises help a lot in controlling stress and cleansing your mind of all the disturbing thoughts.

4) Get your mind off all the worries of your life. Get busy, do something for others and keep your mind occupied so that you ignore all the stressful situations. It helps in reducing stress but that happens to a small degree. If you stop and have a rest then all that will come back and you will feel that you are not caring enough for yourself. This can increase the stress manifold. The best way is to treat the stress before it ensnares your life.

5) Get just the right amount of sleep. Do not keep awake when you know that you need rest. Lack of sleep aggravates stress.

6) Exercise is a most important tool when dealing with stress. When you exercise, your heart pumps blood faster which increases the blood flow to the brain. This is refreshes you a lot. The increased heart rate, breathing and blood flow contribute to the release of serotonin, a feel-good hormone in your body. It relieves the stress and combats the cortisol in our body. (Cortisol is the stress-hormone of our body.)

Note that being pessimistic is a number one symptom of stress and depression. Try to think positive and go easy on yourself. Face any situation that you encounter and then think about it in a positive way. Twist the message of the situation to tell yourself that it is in fact good for you.

Remember one thing, a little bit of stress is like a small cup of coffee. It stimulates you to be alert and precise. You need some sort of pressure to keep you at bay and to keep you working efficiently. But too much of stress can lead to many physical problems which can lead to other graver problems like migraine, chronic depression, nervous breakdowns and so on. Stress weakens your immune system and hence, makes you more susceptible to diseases. Bearing stress is probably the worst way of dealing with stress!

: article by Thomas J Bronson

Most of us have plenty to do each day so having a headache can really make it difficult to get it all accomplished. A headache can range from something dull but achy to a migraine which means you really can’t function at all. There are over the counter medications as well as prescribed ones you can take in order to seek relief.There are plenty of natural cures for headaches though that you may find to be helpful. If you get them on a regular basis then this even more important. Most people don’t realize that a headache can mean you aren’t taking proper care of your body. For example you may be hungry or tired and that is what triggers your pain.

Making sure you get enough sleep and that you are eating a balanced diet can really help. Take an inventory of what you eat as well. Sometimes there are patterns that can be recognized. For example caffeine headaches are common which means your body is too dependent on it. When you cut back on caffeine it is normal to have such headaches for a few days as your body adjusts.

Make sure you drink enough water as well. Too many people drink other items all day long instead. As a result the body isn’t getting enough water that it needs to remove various toxins from the body. You may not be dehydrated but you still aren’t at your very best when that happens. Make sure you drink 6 -8 glasses of water each day.

The problem with a headache is that it can come on suddenly. It doesn’t care where you are or what you have planned for the day. Stress is a very common onset of a headache because the muscles in your body become very tense. Do your best to get rid of stress that you don’t need in your life. This is one of the best natural cures for headaches you will find.

Soaking in a hot bath will help to loosen up those muscles. As a result the headache should get better. A massage in those areas that are tense such as the neck, shoulders, and back can really help as well. It can be done by a professional but asking your partner to give you one before bed can help you to relax as well.

You can use various types of aromatherapy as well to improve how you feel. There are candles, bath salts, and scented oils you can purchase to use at home. If you get a professional massage they may offer them as well. Acupuncture and Reflexology methods can be offered by professionals as well. They target specific areas of the body that can offer you relief from headaches.

Exercise does a great deal for both the mind and the body. Make sure you are getting some form of it every day. Doing so helps keep your heart healthy and your circulation working like it should. Not enough exercise can result in headaches due to the circulation slowing down. Make sure you find activities you like so you can remain active each day.

It is important to pay attention to the signals that you get from your body. Frequent headaches are a sign that something isn’t right. Rather than taking medications and continuing like you were, it is wise to make some changes to your lifestyle. That way you can use natural cures for headaches and enjoy each day to the fullest.

: article by Cindy Browne

Almost 70 per cent of 10 Americans experience neck pain at some point in their lives. Stretching and strengthening exercises have long been considered a key component for keeping the neck strong and healthy.A Danish study published in 2007 demonstrated that women with neck pain who practiced specific strength training (SST) exercises for the neck and shoulder muscles experienced substantial pain relief.

Neck pain is usually triggered by repetitive use or holding the neck and shoulders, in a poor position as a result of either stress or poor posture habits or both.

There are many options to consider that can be done simply on your own:

* Stretching exercises. An example are shoulder shrugs. With your arms at the side, breathe in slowly as you shrug shoulders up toward the ears, breathe out as you lower them to a relaxed position. This gentle, repetitive motion works the trapezius muscle in the back of the neck, relaxing this common site of tension. Head tilts also relieve muscle spasms in the neck and increase range of motion. Wrap your right arm around the left side of your head so your right hand is under your left ear. Gently stretch your head toward your right shoulder and count to 10. Repeat on the other side. Try to perform these exercises four to six times each during the day.

* The Danish study focused on dumbbells. These consist of five exercises — the arm row, shoulder abduction, shoulder elevation, reverse flies and upright row — targeted toward strengthening the neck and shoulder muscles. Note, however, that in the study these exercises were performed under the close supervision of trainers. If you’re interested in giving specific strength training exercises a try, you should contact a personal trainer to teach you how to correctly perform them.

* Take breaks hourly. Long hours at the desk or computer can leave you achy and stiff. Take time once an hour to practice shrugs and head tilts, stretch the muscles and break up the tension. Also, change position frequently. These measures will pay off over the long run.

* Stand (and sit) up straight at all times. Proper posture and alignment of the entire body is critical for ease and comfort in both the neck and back. While sitting, alignthe base of your spine to the top of your head, with shoulders slightly back and the lower back slightly curved out. While standing, adjust this slightly, now picturing a straight line through your body, into the ground beneath your feet. Place your feet shoulder width apart, bend knees slightly and find the place where you’re neither leaning forward nor backward, but perfectly balanced, with head directly over your feet. If you are doing it correctly, you’ll notice less tension in the neck and shoulders.

* Fix your workspace. Little changes can be significant in reducing neck strain and pain. For example, make sure your computer monitor is at eye level… sit up straight with your feet resting comfortably flat on floor… use a desk with armrests that create an angle slightly greater than 90° for your arms.

* Get a headset for your phone. Crooking the phone between your ear and shoulder in order to talk hands-free is one of the worst things you can do to your neck.

* Try self-massage. You can give yourself a pretty good self-massage by putting two tennis balls in a long tube sock. Lie on your back on the floor, rolling these under your shoulder blades and upper back to massage the shoulder blades and break up muscle spasms in the upper back, which connects to the neck muscles.

* Relieve neck pain with heat and cold. When your neck is sore, try a hot pack to soothe the pain… or try a cold pack… whichever feels better.

The treatment of neck pain depends on correctly identifying and addressing its cause, since there are different solutions for muscle pain versus pain from pinched nerves, disk injuries, worn disks or prior trauma.

For neck pain unrelated to stress (such as osteoarthritis), other options such as chiropractic manipulation, ultra high frequency electrical stimulation, gentle horizontal traction using a pneumatic device (similar to a blood pressure cough), yoga, acupuncture, and massage therapy may be of assistance.

If neck pain persists, more aggressive management may be necessary.

These can include anti-inflammatory drugs, injections of cortisone or lidocaine, botulinum toxin, and rarely surgery.

: article by Nathan Wei