No matter what you think, overstress has a solution. Before we discuss the solutions let’s look at the following:
A. Stress and your blood pressure - Is there a link between stress and high blood pressure? Effects may vary, but when you are under stress, your mind and body go into high gear. Repeated stress and tension over time appear to contribute to an increase in blood pressure in some people.
B. Smoking and Stress - The short-term effects of smoking are: It encourages irregular heartbeats. It makes existing heart disease worse, which can result in attacks of angina (pain in the heart).
Nicotine, the addictive drug in tobacco products, raises blood pressure and heart rate. The changes make the heart work faster. The long term effects are: Cholesterol and plaque collect on the lining of vessel walls, resulting in heart attacks, angina, strokes and many other problems that Produce “over-stress” on the body. Smoking just four cigarettes a day increases your risk of heart attack by 50 percent. Risk of cardiac death is two to four times greater among smokers.
C. Your stress is your own! - Do you feel under stress? Then you are. Somebody may tell you, “You don’t have any big problems. You shouldn’t feel under stress.” The fact is, if you feel under stress you are. Stress like any feeling is very personal.
D. How does stress feel to you? Physical symptoms – like an upset stomach, loss of appetite, overeating, chronic headache, insomnia, rashes, rapid heartbeat – are signs of stress. Some feelings can be signs of stress too. Do you feel any of the following?
- Worn out
- Wound up
If you have any of the above, they may be warning signs that you are in an “over-stress” mode. Your body and emotions are attempting to give you a message. The following are ways to deal better with stress in your life:
Slow down! Do you rush through each day trying to meet impossible deadlines? You may help lower your stress by better management of your time. Be realistic in your goals – establish priorities. Use “to do” lists as an aid in organizing time. Schedule time each day to RELAX – even if it’s only for a short time, say 10 minutes, no phone, no TV, no kids, etc. Sing, dance, & exercise stress away! Exercise can help you deal with stress. Walking, dancing, swimming are all good. Be sure to do something you like, as pleasure voids stress. Consult with your physician before beginning an exercise program. Keep getting regular blood pressure checks.
Take a mental vacation. Sit or lie down where you can be alone, where no one will disturb you. Close your eyes. Very slowly, take three deep breaths. Slowly count backward from ten to one. Imagine your self in a restful place, a favorite room, at the shore, in the mountains, on a sail boat or in a garden. In fact, you can go to your place of peace. Make it up if you like. Your body can not tell the difference between real or imagined experiences. Let yourself enjoy the place you have chosen. Or you could simply focus on a word or phrase such as, “I am calm and relaxed.” If your thoughts wander, don’t worry, just refocus. Do this for 15 minutes a day. Once a day is good, twice a day is better and three times a day is excellent. Using your mind to enhance your body is a great gift, one that only you can give to yourself.
Use these solutions for a period of thirty days. At the end of a month you will notice a changed person…..You!