You can’t escape stress, but you can learn to handle it - The Buffalo News
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You can’t escape stress, but you can learn to handle it

The kids need help with their homework, your car broke down, you have a looming deadline approaching for work, and you have a never-ending to do list of home chores.

Are you really surprised you can’t find the time to relax and unwind?

There is no doubt that stress kills. There are many health professionals and medical analyses that validate the strong negative impact stress has on your health and general well-being, as well as your longevity.

It is the chronic, day-in-and-day-out stress that is the problem. It can exacerbate pain, cause depression, obesity, digestive disorders, autoimmune diseases and heart disease, and it can even contribute to the advancement of Alzheimer’s and cancer.

There is good evidence that uncontrolled stress takes a major detrimental toll in so many areas affecting your good health: physical, mental and emotional. There is good reason to learn to control it.

Stress is the result of receiving some sort of threat to your well-being. Your body reacts by secreting cortisol and adrenaline, increasing your heartbeat, blood pressure, strength, stamina and general alertness. Those threats can come from many sources; they’re usually job- or relationship-based, but other sources can be problems with your children, your health or your finances, along with your own unrealistic expectations.

We all know that prolonged stress is bad stuff. The important thing is knowing how to deal with it effectively. Here are 10 steps to help:

1. Accept the fact that few escape stress: Don’t think you are immune and not subject to its negative consequences. Know thine enemy. Educate yourself more fully on just how stress can manifest itself.

2. Know for certain that you can beat stress: This is key. This inner knowing – not just believing – will make you successful in your battle with stress. Go online and review positive stories of those who have dealt successfully with stress and now have productive and happy lives. There is much value in the knowledge that others have experienced exactly your situation and not only survived, but survived very successfully.

3. Get comfortable: Settle into your own physical, emotional and mental self-maintenance regimens. Know that a good diet, a strong exercise program combined with a good self-image, and some low-key spiritual practices can prepare you to deal successfully with stress. Just the knowledge that your mind, body and soul are in sturdy shape is a huge deterrent to stress.

4. Attitude counts: Understand that as one door closes, another one always opens. Know there is something better just around the corner. When you start “knowing” this, you will see start noticing many examples of it appearing in your life.

5. Bring humor into your life: Documentation abounds on the positive impact of humor. Watch funny movies, explore humor online and learn to laugh things off. When you laugh, your body secretes endorphins – positive mood enhancers.

6. Adopt more positive friends: Discard those who are continually negative. These kinds of people have an immense impact. Turn the lights up, take time to smell the flowers, and treat yourself on a regular basis to some (dark) chocolate, a splurge dinner or a vacation. It is important to have something to look forward to that makes you smile.

7. Bring more sunshine into your life, literally: Vitamin D3 is good for positive physical, mental and emotional enhancement. Get out from under the umbrella and enjoy the warmth for short periods.

8. Adopt the thought that “this, too, shall pass”: We can all recollect so many times in our life of instances that we thought at the time were real deal killers, only to turn out to be not even a small anthill.

9. Eliminate the need to be right: Needing to be right is so important for so many of us that we destroy relationships and careers, and eventually ourselves, in its pursuit.

10. Imagine yourself living a life without stress: Deeply internalize what that life might look like. Feel the emotions that accompany that life, and then start living as if that life was already in and about you. Adopt some time each day for some contemplative moments to remember to follow all these tips, but especially this one.

John Koeberer is author of “Green-Lighting Your Future: How to Manifest the Perfect Life.”

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