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Stress-Management Articles


Survivors

(category: Stress-Management, Word count: 398)
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On January 12th our community was hit with a devastating ice storm. My family, along with families in the entire region of Southwest Missouri struggled to survive.

Most were without electricity for five to 10 days....some longer than that. Many were also without water due to wells that needed electricity to operate. This week my family is finally back to some degree of normal. We and many other in this area are truly survivors.

I've been talking and listening to others this week and learning how they coped with their situation. Some had fireplaces, others used Kerosene heaters and some were fortunate enough to find and purchase a generator. There were some who died as a result of fumes.

We have a wood burning fireplace which we hadn't used for about three years. We didn't even have any wood for it. On the first day, I went to one of my neighbors and begged for wood. He brought us a wheelbarrow full. Before we used all of that, we were finally able to locate some for sale and paid $70 a day for wood which was very large and also green. My son worked hard splitting the wood each day.

We put blankets over the windows and doorways so that we could contain the heat in our living room. The three of us spent six days together in that small space. It was entirely too much togetherness. I wondered several times if our relationships would survive.

We lost most of our food which thawed and had to be thrown out due to the inability to cook much on the fire. Limbs coated with ice fell frequently sounding almost like fireworks being set off. One limb made a hole in our roof. Another tore down our patio cover. Our phone with our only answering machine was ruined due to power surges. I wondered if we would survive the expenses.

All of our trees are damaged severely. The ground is covered with branches. We've already had one large shade tree removed. It wouldn't have survived. There are others in our yard that probably won't survive either.

I am happy to say that in spite of the anxiety, depression, stress and lack of modern conveniences, my family has survived. I hope we never have to go through another week like that one was.

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Sensory Relaxation Exercises

(category: Stress-Management, Word count: 421)
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Relaxation Exercises

One of the best forms of relaxation using the mind is imagination. With using imagination relaxation exercises you will not only become more relaxed but also have clearer thoughts.

Before starting the relaxation exercises, find a some where you won't be disturbed for 20 minutes or so. Sit in a nice comfortable chair or lay down in a comfortable place and close your eyes.

At the start of the relaxation exercise, begin by taking several deep, calm and relaxing breaths. In through your mouth and out through your nose. Try not to expand your chest but instead allow your belly to gently rise and fall. After doing this for a few minutes and you feel you are more relax than you were when you first started, start the relaxation exercises.

Begin with your visualisation. Imagine yourself outside in the fresh air, on a deserted beach, in a quiet woods or alone away from busy places. Enjoying the solitude you now have.

Whilst doing the relaxation exercises look around you. Is there anything you can imagine that should be there like grass or flowers. Are there any other things there.

Now imagine you pick something up. Notice the weight of it. Gently caress it noticing if it is wet or dry, soft or hard etc. Notice how it feels in your hand.

If it is a flower, bring the flower to your nose and imagine the smell of the sweet fragrance.

Bring the flower to your ear and wave it. Hear the sound it makes as the flower moves through the air.

Use these relaxation exercises methods. Now imagine taking a walk and finding other wonderful things. With your imagination use all of your senses.

* Sight

* Sound

* Smell

* Taste

* Touch

Practice focusing on one sense at a time.

Finishing the exercise

After about 20 minutes or so, imagine sitting down and gently opening your eyes. When sitting up do so in a relaxed manner. Any sudden movements will activate an increase in your bioelectricity and chemistry from its calm state. Moving calmly and relaxed will prolong this pleasant tranquil feeling.

After doing the relaxation exercises, not only will you relax more, your seeing will become clearer, your listening ability will become fine tuned, your sense of smell and taste will increase and things you touch will have more feeling.

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Stress Less

(category: Stress-Management, Word count: 608)
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STRESS. "Yes, the S word'. Stress is the 'wear and tear' our bodies experience as we adjust to our constantly changing environment. Stress has both physical and emotional effects on us and can it can create positive or negative feelings.

As a positive influence, stress can help compel us to action; it can result in a new consciousness and an exciting new perspective. As a negative influence, it can result in feelings of distrust, rejection, and depression, which in turn can lead to health problems such as headaches, upset stomach, insomnia, ulcers and other health problems. As you can see, as we adjust to different situations, stress can either help or hinder us depending on how we react to it.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you that you shouldn't let things concern you but what I do what to say is that you can slowly begin to reduce the stress in your life.

As women, we wear many hats and as moms, our hat racks are overflowing. Be sure to recognize stressful situations and take a notice of how you deal with them both mentally and physically.

You remember that saying? If mama' ain't happy, nobody is happy? Well, I tend to agree with it so I am very conscience of the stressful situations that I am confronted with and I am sure to time off when I can to replenish my mind, body, and spirit.

Sit back, relax, and see if you can apply some or all of the action steps below into your life and begin on the road to less stress.

Write it down. Write down goals, errands, chores, due dates etc and instead of creating just a "To Do" list, keep a "Have Done" list too. Move things from your To Do list to the Have Done list after having completed them. At the end of the day, review how productive you were.

Express yourself. Unloading your worries and concerns is a terrific way to clear your mind and reduce stress. It's very important not to keep everything inside so try finding a friend or a professional whom you can talk to. You can also write your feelings down in a journal. Moving things out of your head and onto paper can help you release a lot of the inner turmoil you may feeling.

Don't avoid. If there's something in your life that's causing you to worry; seek out things that will help you feel in control. For instance, if you're suffering from financial problems, try read some books on gaining control of your financial life or seek the help of a financial planner.

Drink some orange juice. Scientists have discovered that vitamin C can reduce the production of stress hormones. Try Eating an orange, drinking some juice, taking a Vitamin C supplement. Here are a few foods that are rich in vitamin C: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, strawberries, grapefruit and cantaloupe.

Exercise. Studies have shown that taking a brief 10 minute walk during intense times will increase the amount of oxygen to your brain, allowing you to think more clearly and ultimately helping you to make better decisions.

Give yourself a license to be imperfect. No one is perfect. Give yourself a break. Try to reach a healthy balance between what really needs to be done now and what can wait. Also give yourself permission to ask others for help when you need it.

Adjustments. Let's face it - there comes a time when we have to make adjustments. Try to identify your stressors and adjust yourself so that you react differently to them.

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10 Ways To Reduce Commuting Stress

(category: Stress-Management, Word count: 960)
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Do you get out of your car with a queasy stomach, a headache and your blood pressure registering through the roof? If you do, that energy vulture called stress may have sent your pulse skyrocketing. In a study conducted at the University of California at Irvine, researchers found that the stress of commuting takes a major toll on health. According to the study, it has direct physiological effects of raising blood pressure and releasing stress hormones into the body. Not only that, long commutes (more than 18 miles one way) may also increase the likelihood of having a heart attack due to exposure to high levels of air pollutants, which appears to be a risk factor for heart disease.

Although there is no antidote to stressful commuting, there are lots of ways to shoo off the energy vulture. Here's how to thrive while you drive.

1. Prepare in advance

One of the best ways to lessen the strain of road rage is to prepare everything the night before. Clothes, documents, attache cases, and even packed lunches should be set the day before to avoid the morning rush. With everything champing at the bit, you'd save plenty of time to do your morning routines, devour a good breakfast and enjoy special moments with the family. Best of all, you can dash out the highway free of traffic congestion.

2. Sleep well and wake up early

A good night's sleep rejuvenates the body. Make it a habit to have enough sleep and to rise early. If you are already stressed out the day before, an incomplete repose takes over cumulative stress effects into your life at work and at home. Your frustration levels at work eventually rises, your brainpower falters, and your mood at home sours. You have no energy left for enjoying life.

3. Juggle your work hours

Why pack the freeways with all the other "9-to-5?ers when you can try a ten-to-six or an eight-to-four shift? Depending on your company's work policy, try to check out other shifts that fit your lifestyle. Choose one that would help you get rid of energy-depleting stress and allow you to lighten your highway woes.

4. Share your ride

It may be a hassle to coordinate your arrival and departure with another person or two, but carpooling is worth it. Studies show that ridesharing lowers commuter stress significantly. With carpooling, there is less air and noise pollution, less traffic congestion, and you can relax more while someone else does the driving.

5. "Cocoon" in your car

Instead of getting worked up when traffic is at a standstill, utilize your time wisely. Listen to the radio or pop in some music tapes to take your mind off the stop-and-go driving and traffic tie-ups. If you like to read but just can't have time to flip pages of a book, check out books on cassette. Many libraries have full-length books on tape as well as abridged versions. You can even learn a new language or do some car exercises like shoulder rolls, neck extensions and tummy tucks to help you stay awake and relax.

6. Pillow your back and squirm

When you're standing, the lumbar area of your spine (the lower portion) normally curves inward, toward your abdomen. However, when you're sitting, it tends to slump outward squeezing your spinal disks and putting stress on them. According to back expert Malcolm Pope, Ph.D.,director of the Iowa Spine Research Center at the University of Iowa, it helps to support your back by tucking a rolled towel or a pillow in that lumbar section. In cases of longer drives, since sitting in one position for longer than 15 minutes gradually stiffens you even with a back pillow, make necessary adjustments for a comfy ride. For instance, you can try putting most of your weight on one buttock and then the other. Then, shift the position of your seat or your buttocks slightly. You may even try sliding down in your seat and sit up again for fun.

7. Work out after work

Since the evening rush is worse than the morning rush because of the compounded fatigue from the workday, it is best to wait out the traffic. Work out at a gym near your office or take meditation classes to relieve your stress. If you plan to go to dinner, see a movie or go shopping, try to do these things near work, delaying your departure enough to miss the maddening rush.

8. Give yourself a break

It may be a good idea to give yourself some day off from work. Many companies today offer compressed working hours or longer working days to give way to work-free days for you to unwind.

9. Move your office

If your job is a long drive ahead everyday, inquire at work if the company would allow you to work at home some days of the week or if you can work near your place. An alternative work schedule would make you feel less tense and in control thereby reducing stress.

10. Occasionaly change your routine

An occasional change of commuting habits may be advisable too. Try walking or bicycling sometimes for a change. There's nothing like a good walk to ease tension especially when it means you don't have to get in your car and fight rush hour traffic.

By lessening the stress of getting to work, you are conserving enormous amounts of energy that may be lost over stressful commuting. It doesn't only leave you a lot more energy to do your job and become more productive but it also makes you feel good and gives you a good reason to always start your day right.

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Stress Reduction 30 Easy Things That You Can Do

(category: Stress-Management, Word count: 1365)
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Stress affects the whole person - body, mind, feelings, and behavior, and just as symptoms can take many forms, so there are many simple actions that you can take to relieve these symptoms.

Take Action on Stress.

Ask yourself "Am I stressed, or am I in denial?"

Simply making a conscious decision to act upon your situation will bring to you, such a sense of relief that this unpleasant situation is going to change, that you will immediately start to feel some benefit.

Chunk Down.

Chunking down helps you to define what the problems actually are. It helps you to divide the problems causing you stress into smaller and therefore more manageable parts. You can then look for solutions, options and ways forward. This is a good problem solving technique.

Speak to Someone.

A problem shared is a problem halved, it's good to talk. Talking it over with a friend or someone who is willing to listen, who wont judge or offer advice, can often help to de-clutter the mind and clarify your perspective and help you to take appropriate action to relieve stress.

Write it down - Let it out.

Write a letter to yourself or to someone else, without posting it, but find a means of getting your true thoughts and feelings down on paper. You can then destroy it if you wish, it's a form of release, which you can then follow up with a plan to resolve your issues.

Ask for Professional Help.

Seek out a hypnotherapy DVD or find a hypnotherapist to help you refocus on relaxation and stress relief.

Stop Procrastinating.

Procrastination is itself a cause of stress, Eliminate procrastination from your life. Don't put things off until tomorrow. Do them today. Create a "DO IT NOW" mentality.

Don't be afraid to say NO.

Change the Dynamic of your situation. If you can learn how to be more assertive, this will enable you to say what you think and act how you want to. Imagine how much less stressed this will make you feel.

Give yourself choices.

Change the stress factors that you can and strengthen your ability to cope with ones that you cannot change. Be creative, find compromises, Reframe problems and look for solutions that create win-win outcomes.

Take a step back from the situation.

Create some distance between yourself and the stressor. Walk away and find a quiet place even if that's sitting in your car or a bathroom. Take a couple of deeper breaths and imagine yourself far, far away from it. See the stressor for what it really is. See it small and manageable compared to the bigger picture and see how much calmer you feel.

Manage your Time - Be Organized.

Time management allows you to plan and organize your life to give yourself more space and opportunity. It involves planning, delegating, setting an agenda and not wasting any time doing unnecessary things or worrying about things over which you have no control.

Start the day with confidence.

Prepare for the coming day, the night before. Then you're not rushed in the morning and off to a bad start straight away.

Don't rely on your memory (it's the first thing to go when you're stressed). Write down appointments, to-do lists, directions and shopping lists. Create order out of chaos.

Don't be late.

Give yourself more time to do things so that you are not pressured. Get up a little earlier, leave a little earlier for appointments.

Focus.

Do one thing at a time and do it well, focus on the job at hand and forget everything else you have to do.

Take a moment.

Allow yourself some personal time, everyday, a private moment for peace, quiet and contemplation.

Have an optimistic view of the world.

Expect things to go right, expect people to be nice. You may find that's exactly what happens!

Learn to be Tolerant.

Remember that most people are doing the best that they can. Find it within yourself to be tolerant and understanding. People make mistakes. Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world.

Take Regular Exercise.

Exercise combats many of the physical and emotional symptoms of stress and can make you feel better about yourself. Feeling healthy can bring about improvements in self-esteem and self-image and increase confidence. When our confidence and esteem are lifted our perception of ourselves changes completely and becomes much more positive.

Make exercise Fun.

Don't ignore the mental and emotional aspect of regular exercise. Giving yourself time out to do something fun simply makes you feel good, so if you're feeling stressed and unsure about whether to exercise or not, simply remind yourself of how you are going to feel afterwards.

Get Outside and Walk it off, - Breathe in some Fresh Air.

If you work in an office with air conditioning, get outside and clear your head. Walk about and Fill your lungs with Air. Try some Deep Breathing Techniques, which re-energizes and invigorates your mind and body. This simple exercise also releases hormones that affect your mood, creating a more relaxed and positive frame of mind and releasing physical stress from the body.

Treat yourself - Have something to look forward to.

Get away from it all, even if it's just for one day. Better still, have regular weekend breaks and don't ever take work with you. Make sure that you book a proper holiday each year to recharge your batteries, it doesn't matter where, just do it.

Learn to use your body's Relaxation Response.

Imagine... having relief on tap - something you could experience whenever you need it, something that would remove all the stress from your body and return the sparkle to your mind.

You can use hypnosis to trigger this wonderful natural effect, which will release hormones and neurotransmitters that flood your body and mind with pure, cleansing relaxation. You owe it to yourself to feel the relief you can have instantly, so learn this technique.

Make Relaxation part of your daily routine. The following practices will help you to relax and unwind.

- Guided relaxation and visualization techniques: obtain a CD or DVD

- Meditation: Brings an abundance of calm into your life

- Progressive Muscle Relaxation: deeply, physically relaxing

- Massage/ Aromatherapy: Go on, pamper yourself

- Yoga; a mixture of meditation and gentle movement and stretching

- Shiatsu; Energy balancing and deeply relaxing

Other methods and therapies include; Floatation tanks, Reiki, Indian head massage, Thai Chi and Reflexology. Do your research and try a few things and find the treatment most suitable for you.

Eat Properly - Food is not just fuel.

Make the time in your schedule to eat properly and take time to enjoy your meals when you do eat them. Don't just shovel the food in and dash off for the next meeting, give your digestive system a fighting chance by eating slowly and resting after your meal.

(Remember, peptic ulcers aren't fun).

Eat Healthy.

Look after your health by eating a sensible balanced diet. Eat breakfast to kick-start your day. If you need to, create new good eating habits. Ensure that your lifestyle changes to suit your real needs. Poor nutrition will further weaken your resistance to illness and allow other symptoms of stress to develop.

Lay off the coffee and tea. (the caffeine doesn't help you to relax)

Take a hot bath.

Have a good soak in the evening to relieve the tension in your body before going to bed

Ensure that you get enough sleep.

This is essential. You'll wake up feeling refreshed with more energy and able to function better throughout the day.

Enjoy the moments.

Find something that makes you smile or laugh out loud. Laughter is the answer to stress, because it's hard to be stressed and anxious when you're having fun!

Remember to Enjoy Life.

Every day, take time to do something that you enjoy.

Learn to live one day at a time and take each day as you find it. Life only comes round once, it's quite short and you have to appreciate what's good in it.

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Stress Control It Change It Or Let It Go

(category: Stress-Management, Word count: 730)
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Have you ever tried to control other people? Who gets stressed out? Have you ever tried to control things or events over which you had no control? Do you find that stressful?

There are different typed of stressful situations. Some, like people interrupting you all the time, you can control. You can let the interrupters know you are busy and don't have time to talk.

Other stresses, like rush hour traffic, are usually beyond your control. But there are some things about rush hour traffic that you can personally change which may help; taking a different route, for example, or traveling at a different time. Of course, these changes are not always possible. In that case, you have to change your attitude about the situation, in order to lessen the stress. You can listen to music or educational tapes or books-on-tape. Rush hour traffic won't seem as frustrating because you'll be doing something to help keep your mind off the traffic and other drivers. In order to let go of commute stress, you have to accept the situation. You must accept that you cannot control the traffic, no matter how much you yell and gesture at other drivers to speed up. A stressful commute can ruin your whole day, don't let it! Accept that, if you are unable to change your route, or your time of travel, you are powerless over everything on the road, with the exception of your car and your attitude. Control your attitude, let go of the traffic, and you can control your stress!

You can learn to manage a great deal of your stress by asking looking at each stressor and asking yourself "Can I control it, can I change it, or do I need to learn to let it go?

The "control, change, or let go" concept is an important key to stress management. We spend too much time worrying about things over which we have no control that we have no energy left to control the things we can. We become so overwhelmed, that we feel like our whole life is out of control and we'll never catch up. Once you understand the "control, change, or let go" concept and start putting it into practice you will be able to deal much better with stressful situations.

So much of our stress comes from trying to control other people, places and things when we simply cannot. We are the ones who end up with the stress and resulting headaches! The people we try to control go home, or simply ignore us, barely giving us a thought. That's why it is so easy to build up resentments against other people in situations or jobs when we don't think we have much control. On the job, it impedes productivity and healthy teamwork. People tend to blame other people. If you are stressed out because of others, it's important to go through the steps of control, change and letting go. Unless you are ready to leave your job, family, or the planet earth, chances are you will continue working or being around the "stressful people." Ask yourself if the other person is actually a "stress carrier," or simply has a different style.

Letting go is a process. It takes time, and doesn't always happen at once just because we will it. We have to use our thoughts to control our emotions and our actions. Remind yourself that there are people and events you cannot control. All you can control is your attitude and your reactions. Its possible to change yourself-talk about the situation. Identify which stresses you can control, take appropriate action, and learn to let go of the things you can't.

Pick something in your life that stresses you out. Can you control it? If so, what can you do? Can you change it? If so, how? Perhaps you can only change or control a part of it. Do you need to let it go? If so, what can you do in order to let go?

You can view life as unexpected and exciting or your can view it as scary because you don't know what the future holds. Take charge; take control or let it go. The choice is yours!

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Is Your Job Stressful Add A Little Harmony

(category: Stress-Management, Word count: 368)
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Every job has stress. Some stress is due to the nature of the job, some stress we apply to ourselves, and some stress is caused by those around us, be it demanding bosses, unreasonable customers or unproductive and scheming co-workers.

Malcolm S. Forbes once said, "If you have a job without any aggravations, you don't have a job."

So if workplace stress is a given, then how we handle this stress has a large impact on how well we perform and how much we enjoy our job.

The fact is that living and working with others is not always easy. You don't have to like the people you work with, but you do need to be able to co-exist and co-operate with them. You can start by remembering that everyone has their place and the more harmony you can bring to the situation the more enjoyable it will be for everyone.

Why not try bringing a little harmony to the workplace by imagining your job as being a member of a choir. In a choir some people sing too loud, others too softly and some out of tune, but we're all still part of the same choir. If you sing louder to compete with the loud singers or sing so softly that you are not heard or sing out of tune just to fit in, then you do nothing to help the choir-you don't add anything to the harmony.

You can't change how another sings, you can only do the best that you can and hope that others follow your lead.

The Roman philosopher Sallust said, "Harmony makes small things grow, lack of it makes great things decay."

Wise words, indeed. Whatever you do, don't add to the disharmony, this will only make matters worse and drag the choir further out of tune.

Your performance should be based on how well you perform, and not the performance of others. The more harmony there is in a choir the better it sounds. The more harmony we can create at work the less stressful our job becomes. Don't let someone else singing off key ruin your song.

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Anger Lose Your Cool And Look Like A Fool

(category: Stress-Management, Word count: 605)
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I recently witnessed a scene in a mall parking lot that has had a lasting effect on me - it was two middle-aged women arguing over a parking spot. They were both standing beside their cars and screaming at each other while waving their arms in a threatening manner. The argument eventually became a name-calling competition, with each trying to outdo the other. The sad thing was that the store wasn't busy and there were plenty of empty spaces available. Their arguing became so heated that other shoppers began stopping to watch the spectacle. Meanwhile, the women's children sat in their cars and witnessed the whole scene. How proud those kids must be!

The fact is that everybody gets angry. Whether it is at a family member, a co-worker or the stranger who took our parking spot, we all get angry. The problem with getting angry is that there is only a slim chance that it might solve the problem, but a much greater chance it'll create new ones.

Anger is really us losing control and when we lose control bad things usually happen. At home it can mean a damaged relationship, in public it can mean a confrontation with a stranger, and at work it can mean getting fired or skipped over for promotion. Samaria Maxamus said, "Anger itself does more harm than the condition that caused it." If you can't remember that, try: Anger is only 1 letter away from danger!

Let's be honest here, just like the two women in the parking lot, most of us can look and act pretty foolishly when we're angry - usually saying and doing things we'll later regret. Getting angry is a lot like being drunk, the intoxicated person is the only one who doesn't realize he has a problem.

What makes anger so dangerous is that it can occur so quickly we've lost control before we even realize it. The only way to minimize the damage is to gain back control.

Before we can begin to diminish our anger we first have to understand what causes anger. There is really only one reason why we get angry and that is because someone didn't act the way we wanted them to. Interesting, isn't it? Anger is not an action, but how we respond to another's action. Getting angry is letting someone else control you.

When was the last time something good came out of you getting angry? Benjamin Franklin said, "Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame." The next time you find yourself getting angry, try and take a moment to ask yourself these questions: Is winning this argument really worth ruining the relationship? How important will this be a year from now? A month from now? A day or even an hour from now?

The moment you take back control you'll lose the anger. Don't let someone else control how you feel.

Who really suffers when you get anger? The Buddha said, "Holding on to anger is like holding on to a red-hot coal, you're the only one who's going to get burned."

Why is it that when we hurt ourselves physically we learn not to do it again, but when we hurt ourselves emotionally we repeat the same action over and over? No one benefits from anger.

The best way to end an argument is to bite your tongue. That's not admitting fault, it's controlling the anger. Take back control. Besides, even if you win the argument, you still can't enjoy the present if you're angry about the past.

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Stress And Anxiety

(category: Stress-Management, Word count: 230)
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Stress and anxiety put people in the hospital every day. It may not be common to go to the doctor to say "I think I have stress," but the National Institutes of Health say that 80% of illnesses are caused by stress, directly or indirectly.

Powerful hormones, including adrenalin, are released into your blood when you're stressed and anxious. They cause a rise in blood pressure, a faster heart and breathing rate, and faster conversion of glycogen into glucose. These are all good things if you need to escape a charging grizzly bear. Unfortunately, when these effects are prolonged, as they often are in modern life, the immune system is depressed, and the body suffers other negative changes.

Some of the common negative effects of prolonged stress include fatigue, pain in the muscles and joints, depression, anxiety, headache, mental confusion, and irritability. These stress reactions cause your body to use too much energy, which can eventuaLLY result in physical and mental weakness.

Stress And Anxiety Relief

At Stanford University, an analysis of 146 meditation studies was done. The conclusion was that meditation was not only beneficial at the time of practice, but that it significantly reduced anxiety as a character trait. Most of the studies focused on transcendental meditation, but it's probable most methods have similar results. (Reported in the Journal of Clinical Psychology 45: 957

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