Stress is denoted by the presence of stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. In small doses it sharpens our instincts and is a survival tool. Persistent, chronic stress on the other hand adversely impacts on long-term health. In developed countries the problem of ill-health due primarily to work stress is growing and in America it is said to account for 60-70% of visits to the doctor. The long-term symptoms are poor complexion, digestive problems, sleep disorders, memory impairment, physical inactivity and obesity. These are classic precursors to heart disease, especially if combined with smoking, alcohol and other substance abuse associated with stress. Moreover, chronic long-term stress affects us mentally and psychologically too – tension, irritability, lack of concentration and depression being common symptoms.
• If your job is that stressful, change jobs or careers if you can. Your long term health and peace of mind is more important.
• Learn to say “no” if asked to assume more responsibility or do favours.
• Manage your time efficiently by prioritizing. Prune or cut out anything that is not conducive to your ongoing calm and well-being. If certain people are the problem, find ways to limit their interaction with you.
• Set aside “me” time every day, even just 20 minutes to relax and meditate.
• Exercise is a far better de-stressor than cigarettes, alcohol or drugs which only exacerbate the problem.
• Join a yoga class.
• Reduce stress and start enjoying a longer life.
If you find that you‘ re feeling “stressed out” on a regular basis, your health may be suffering for it. Physicians and psychiatrists agree that managing your stress levels is an important part of maintaining good physical and mental health at any age.