The Silent Killer: How to Relieve Stress

Stress is a normal part of life and it usually happens on a daily basis. Mild stress is not something to be worried or scared about, as it can help us grow and try harder to achieve what we want, but if it goes from mild to strong – we are faced with a problem.

Frequent exposure to strong stress can cause numerous disorders, physical as well as emotional. Some of those disorders include depression, anxiety, problems with the immune system and increased susceptibility to infections and viruses. This doesn’t have to be serious, but it can get that way – stress can increase susceptibility to disorders from a simple cold to HIV and other serious diseases such as cancers and autoimmune diseases.

As if this wasn’t enough, stress can also cause complications on your skin (rashes, eczema, etc.), in the gastrointestinal system (irritable bowel syndrome, ulcer, etc), and it can cause sleeping troubles and neurological disorders. In fact, there probably isn’t a disease that doesn’t get worse with the “help” of stress. If you have a disorder/disease, and you are constantly stressed out, your recuperation will be very difficult, because then your body needs to battle not just the disease, but also the negative waves the stress sends throughout your whole body and makes everything worse.

According to the American Heart Association, stress alone doesn’t directly cause high blood pressure or heart attack, but when coping with stress people tend to turn to unhealthy habits that help relieve it, such as smoking, overeating on unhealthy foods (or not eating enough or at all), drinking alcohol, and these habits can actually significantly raise the risk for the mentioned conditions. So, even though in an indirect way, we can say that stress leads to health problems. Also, when stress-eating, people are at a greater risk of becoming obese, which is a very serious problem. But not everyone agrees that stress affects the health of people only indirectly. The American Institute of Stress argues that acute stress caused by, for example, natural disasters like earthquakes, can cause sudden heart attacks or even death.

Because stress is so common and such a serious problem, many scientists and psychologists took it upon themselves to try to identify this problem and try to find a way to successfully deal with it in order to avoid health problems that stress creates or makes worse. So, the question is – What is the leading cause of stress these days? The most common causes of stress are: unhappiness at the workplace, being overwhelmed with responsibilities, having high expectations which you are unable to reach, being in danger, speaking in public, emotional problems, etc. Stress can come to you either from the outside, or from the inside (you stress yourself by thinking too much and overanalyzing). And really, in some situations it is not easy to calm down and just stop stressing, but in others it is – and it is your duty towards yourself to try your best to get rid of stress to be able to live a normal life. Do you really want to let your stress and nervousness ruin your life by causing you to become ill or worsen an already developed disease?

Do you really think there is nothing you can do about it?

  • Get a Good Night’s Sleep

How about getting some sleep? Have you realized that after a good night’s sleep you are more relaxed and sometimes even cheerful? Rest can do that to people. And not sleeping enough can certainly make you stressed, anxious and irritated. After all, after having slept, you will be more functional and able to concentrate better, which will help you in completing your obligations more successfully – and reduce stress levels in the process.

  • Do Yoga

The Mayo Clinic suggests doing yoga to relieve stress. As it includes breathing control and relaxing postures, many people turn to this activity to get rid of stress and achieve peace of mind and body. You can apply for yoga classes wherever you are and you will surely feel better stress-wise after a couple of classes. The mentioned clinic also advises including music into your life, because it can distract your mind from the problems that trouble you, the production of stress hormones decreases and the tension in you muscles reduces.  If you don’t like music that much, turn to something you do like, such as handy work, exercising, drawing, or whatever comes to your mind that relaxes you.

  • Keep a Journal

Another thing that could help you relieve stress would be keeping a journal and writing down your feelings. That is the second best thing to speaking about your problems with someone who will understand and support you. Writing a journal can purge you and literally take the stress out of you. There is no need to pay attention to style of writing or grammar – you are not writing it for anyone but yourself and the purpose of feeling better.

  • Be Physically Active

Try going for a run now and then, or sign up for a fitness class or some other sport. Physical activity is one of the best known stress relievers. But if nothing can calm you down and you have tried everything that came to your mind, then maybe it’s time to seek counseling. A counselor or a therapist can help you figure out what makes you stressed and find new ways for dealing with it.