When life hands you lemons, do you make lemonade or just a nasty sour drink? For most people, life’s stresses are too much. And, that stress has real consequences – diabetes, heart disease, cancer. Are you at risk? Here’s how to tell and what to do about it.
Causes Of Stress
Stress can be caused by any number of things, really. For most men, the causes tend to be performance-related. For women, some studies show that self-sacrifice in a relationship can trigger stress. But, stress can also come from financial concerns or problems in the relationship or from work.
Side Effects Of Stress
Stress isn’t benign and, while a little stress in life is unavoidable, unrelenting stress can cause serious physical problems. For example, according to the Mayo Clinic, your body has a natural response to stress, and that’s the release of cortisol. But, if this natural process goes haywire, and you are constantly releasing cortisol in response to day-to-day activities, you could develop anxiety, depression, digestive problems, sleep disorders, heart disease, you could gain weight, lose your memory or ability to concentrate, get tension headaches or migraines, or even develop diabetes.
People who have heart disease are often put on life-long medications. Anxiety patients also must take medication to control symptoms. Diabetics often use OneTouch Products like its glucometers to help monitor and control blood sugar levels.
These diseases and illnesses become a permanent disability. And, while the drugs and medical devices do help, having a permanent disability is never a positive thing.
Ways To Reduce Stress
A kiss can cure stress. It seems incredible but it’s true. A recent study involving 2,000 couples showed that those who kiss only during lovemaking are eight times more likely to report stressful lifestyles and a high-stress life in general as well as depression, compared to those who kiss more frequently on the spur of the moment.
According to Laura Berman, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry and ob-gyn at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, the kissing relieves stress because it creates a sense of connectedness.
Cuddle a Lot
Cuddling is yet another way to reduce stress. Like kissing, it creates a sense of connectedness, increasing oxytocin levels, which combat and blunt the effects of cortisol.
Don’t Lash Out Against Your Partner
Fighting is always stressful, and the more you yell, the more stress you create. Likewise, the less you lash out against your partner, the more connected you feel, and the less stress you create.
Drink More Tea
Tea contains l-theanine, a substance known to reduce stress levels. Drink more, and watch the stress disappear.
Put Down The Smartphone and Tablet
Being too connected can increase stress. Having your smartphone beeping and dinging at you all day with text messages and alerts can drink you crazy. Shut it off or silence it, and the stress will melt away.
Meditation is the tried and true way to reduce stress. If you’re not doing already, start.
Reflect On Your Values
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, asked 85 people to complete a questionnaire about their values, ranking various things from most important to least important. The test subjects then took part in stress-inducing tasks like giving a 5-minute speech in front of a heckling audience, counting backwards from 2,083 by 13s. People who reflected on their most cherished values during the ordeal had lower stress responses than those who discussed things that didn’t mean a lot to them.
This demonstrated that focusing on your values reduces your stress and helps you keep perspective on what’s really important in life. And, that may be the single-greatest way for both you and your partner to keep stress at bay and live a life full of purpose.
Linda McNabb is a small town pharmacist and mother of four. Whenever she can, she likes to help others by providing the insights that have worked for her. You can find her informative articles on various websites and blogs today.