Stress is defined as physical, emotional or mental tension caused by any of the factors which may be biological, environmental, or psychological. It can come from pressure at work or at school, problems in the family or with loved ones; it can come from lack of proper rest and sleep or an inadequate diet or from environmental pollution, from noise, from exhausting hours in traffic etc. Good things can be stress-producing just as bad things; the issue is to learn to be equal-minded to both success and failure.
Health has been defined as not only the absence of disease but the harmonious functioning of the various components that compose the human personality. Man is supposed to be synthesis of Spirit, Soul and body reflected objectively in our four-fold lower nature of dense physical body, energy-body, astral or feelings/emotional body and mental body; all four regarded as instruments of the soul. It is the harmonious functioning of these components with the soul, the inner Christ self that constitute total health. Health is a continuing and dynamic process of response to change, and it has been observed that positive, constructive habits of eating, exercising, acting, thinking and believing, sleeping and resting improve life and brings longevity and joy. Stressful living is a way of eating, acting and thinking which creates inharmony, illness and trouble in the human personality. Each must participate by using our God given creative minds in healing ourselves. Find out what is the cause of your stress situation. Make the necessary changes in life-style that will give you greater harmony.
12 WAYS TO TAME STRESS
- WATCH YOUR DIET – Watch What You Eat & Drink When Under Stress.
When you feel tired and whipped, instead of getting into a hair-pulling and nail-biting or slugging it out on your spouse or raving at your kids try some of these dietary tips.
- Make a cup of herbal tea that contains chamomile, passionflower, kava kava, hops, catnip or Skullcap. Sipping a cup of your favorite herbal tea containing any of these can cool your nerves, soothe you with warmth and relax your mind and body.
- Any form of stress puts wear and tear on the body. When the body is under stress, the vitamin B complex and C are the first nutrients to rapidly deplete. Begin to take supplements of vitamin B complex especially vitamins B3 (niacin) & B5 (pantothenic acid), both anti-stress vitamins. Vitamins A & C are also needed in greater amounts during stressful periods particularly to help destroy harmful automobile pollutants, an environmental stress many people living in ‘smog’ cities are exposed to daily.
Stress weakens your immune system and makes you more susceptible to illness. Taking extra vitamins and minerals will strengthen your immune system and help protect you against stress-induced illness.
Several minerals are also used at a more rapid rate in your body’s response to stress. Zinc and iron are most commonly depleted amongst with calcium, magnesium and potassium. Supplements of these as well as selenium and chromium will help your body ride through rough periods. Stress weakens your immune system and makes you more susceptible to illness. Taking extra vitamins and minerals will strengthen your immune system and help protect you against stress-induced illness.
Encourage Regular Elimination
During stressful time it is beneficial to eat a diet composed of 50% to 75% raw foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables not only supply valuable minerals and vitamins but are rich in compounds called flavonoids and carotenoids, which help scavenge and neutralize dangerous free radicals that harm the body. More importantly these kinds of foods encourage circulation and eliminate congestion or constipation. A system that lacks good circulation and regular elimination adds to more biological stress, further weakening the body. Regular evacuation is necessary; sweat off those toxins through regular exercise from time to time.
- Exercise & Massage
Regular exercise, like riding your exercise bike or jogging or taking part in some sports or just plain walking by yourself can help clear your mind and keep stress under control. Exercise does not necessarily have to mean heavy –duty exercise. You can do light stretch exercises to relax your muscles or you can take a walk or receive some massage therapy followed by a warm bath.
- Learn to Relax
It is important to know how to relax and turn off the heat. One simple relaxation technique is to relax your muscles from toe to head and vice versa. Do a full body stretch while lying face up on your exercise mat or you can do it in bed. Begin with your feet, tensing your toes for 10-15 seconds, then release them, continue buttocks, abdomen, muscles at the back , shoulder, arms working your way up to the neck and face. Breathe slowly in and out as you work upwards. You can work backwards to the toe if you wish. When you finish, your whole body should feel loose and your mind should be calm. All physical exercises of walking, massage or stretch exercise should help you relax and encourage circulation.
When the heat is on, learn to chill. You can head for the hills or the sea to chill. Take a day off at work. Take a drive or listen to some music. Keep your thoughts in the present, so that you do not dwell upon whatever is causing you distress. The break-away from it all may enable you when you return to look at issues in a new light and perspective. Avoid circumstances that are confrontational; you either avoid or eliminate them from your life if you can. If you cannot, you may need to work at strategies to cope with them. In a study done at the University of Pennsylvania, people who considered themselves chronic worriers found that they could reduce their anxiety levels by setting aside a specific time to worry each day. Thirty minutes were reserved each day to worry and they did not allow themselves to worry at other times.
- Practice Deep Breathing to Relieve Your Stress
It is said that ‘the breath is the life’; by knowing and practicing the various breath control exercises, you become adept at regulating your life-force and therefore your vitality and energy levels. Correct breathing, whether sitting, standing or walking, demands learning to practice abdominal breathing. In correct breathing, the abdomen should expand first, then the lungs, avoiding mouth-breathing. With right breathing every part of the body is vitalized and the mind began to enjoy greater tranquility. When facing a stressful situation at home, at work or at any time, inhale deeply, of course with your mouth closed. Hold your breath for some seconds then exhale slowly. Hold your breath again a few seconds before inhaling again. Do this four or five times until you feel your tension or pressure slowly ease.
- Cultivate Right Attitudes
The unfoldment of life is like a race full of hurdles; life is not meant to be a bed of roses. With the right attitudes you can overcome even the toughest challenges. Identify the hurdles or challenges. Develop constructive attitudes and eliminate unwholesome attitudes such as anger, hate, resentment, worry, unnecessary anxiety etc. In a study of brain –wave therapy in modern scientific laboratories, it has been found that people who indulge in negative emotions such as fear, worry, hatred, selfishness, greed, jealousy and revenge produced brain waves that actually tend to poison their bodies and aura which make them sick. Research shows that these negative vibrations can trigger reactions to allergies and can make allergic symptoms more severe.
These kinds of attitudes can also aggravate certain skin disorders by influencing immune cells in the skin as they trigger off certain chemicals to be released from nerve cells. A group of Dutch researchers found that individuals with high levels of stress had fewer than half the antibodies (which help fight infections) in their system.
- Place Issues in the Right Perspective
Identify the sources or causes of stress in your life. Make a stress inventory from time to time to help you understand what is causing your problem and how you are coping. Use Dr. Holmes Stress chart. For instance, if you are changing jobs which is 36 points and at the same time having sexual problems with your partner which is 39 points making 75; you may need to slow up your sex life in the mean time till you properly get familiar with the demands of the new job. When going through the crises of change, have faith and hope in the eventual goodness of life. Do your best and leave the rest to God. Think success, even if you are not feeling confident, act as if you are. Start each day visualizing yourself as doing the right things at work, or at play. Believe in the goodness of life and that all challenges are to enable you grow to be more complete.
- Become familiar with the event and the amount of change required. Refer to Dr. Holmes scale to help you determine how much stress your situation means.
- Determine the meaning of the event for you and try to identify some of the thoughts and feelings you experience with regards to you situation.
- Explore the different ways you may best adjust to the challenge.
- Look at difficult situation as challenges for growth in consciousness and don’t look at them as stopping points or a matter of life and death.
- Take your time at arriving at your decisions. Pace and space yourself to your own rhythm. Learn to live to your own rhythm. If possible anticipate life changes and plan for them well in advance, but be flexible and adaptable when things don’t work your way.
- Get Sufficient Rest and Sleep
Get sufficient sleep each night. Some kinds of stress can keep you up at night. However you need a good night’s sleep as the less you sleep the more stress will undermine your health. Your immune system begins to weaken and open you up to a greater chance of falling ill if you continuously do not get adequate rest; making you probably pick up some infection easily. If you find it difficult to sleep sometimes make a tea of herbs as suggested above to help you relax and go to sleep.
- Pray and Meditate Frequently
Many people find that regular prayer and meditation helps them to relax and handle stress well. You can pray and meditate on soul-progressive themes such as peace, light, love, goodwill, etc. It is beneficial to have a store of hope, faith, and pleasant thoughts to draw upon during stressful times. Researchers have found enhanced immunity systems in persons after prayer and meditation. The two most common and widely used techniques to join the material to the spiritual are through prayer and meditation. Prayer and meditation are recommended today by various holistic healers as part of the adventure of healing. We learn thru our life situations and challenges. Every event in one’s life, whether an experience in the human body or otherwise can be regarded as an experience in the evolution of the soul; an illness of the human body may be regarded as an adventure which could lead one, if one is willing to be led, into a more holistic and more complete state of being.
- Express yourself. Put it in writing
Monitor your internal conversation. The way we talk to ourselves has a lot to do with how we feel about ourselves. Do not repress or deny your emotions and thoughts. This only compounds stress. Admit your feelings and accept yourself, then begin to modify those areas that are negative and unwholesome. Keeping strong thoughts and feelings bottled – up only cause them to resurface later as illness. It may help to put them in writing. Writing helps perspective. Divide your paper into two. On the left side, list those stressors you may be able to change; on the right side, list the ones you can’t. Change what you can and leave alone those you can’t! Don’t be afraid to cry sometimes and neither be afraid to laugh at yourself and your mistakes. Crying and laughing can relieve anxiety and let loose bottled –up emotions. Try not to take life too seriously. Learn to laugh, be kind to yourself and forgive yourself. Then forgive others who may have trespassed over you.
- Aromatherapy for Stress
Burn your favorite incense whilst praying or meditating or just lying still in bed. Hyssop will relax your nerves and clear the mind; Clary sage is a good nerve tonic for depression and will soon uplift your spirit. Try other fragrances and find out which is best for your condition.
- Hobbies & group encounter
Pick up some form of hobby that would engage other parts of your attention. Learn new skill maybe music, maybe a new language. Join a group that will foster your interests. Encounters with a group and its members may open up new ways of life for you.
HEALING YOURSELF —RENEW YOURSELF
Dr. Hans Seyle, the famous stress expert and author of many books on stress mentions that it is not stress itself that is harmful – it is distress. Distress occurs when unresolved emotional stress is prolonged and not dealt with in positive ways. Note that heavy metal intoxication such as mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium and certain food allergies can cause symptoms that mimic those of stress. To be successful in working with this beautiful gift of the human body that God has given us, we must thank him that he has given us the opportunity to always renew ourselves. Man is capable of regeneration through good nutrition, exercise, massage, prayer and meditation, positive emotional and mental attitude, all of which lead to relieve the strains and stresses of life, leading eventually toward a state of total health of body mind and spirit.
It has been said that the healing of the human body is best described as a growth in consciousness, of becoming aware of the divine soul within one’s being. True healing is an adventure in consciousness that may lead to a new understanding of you. When you learn to cope with challenges, you learn to transform and make crises beneficial.
Health is a dynamic process that must be sought after and maintained. It requires proper assimilation of the nutrients of experience. It demands circulation and adequate elimination. Health is not attained through the constant injection of antibiotics or through cutting off of offending parts of the body. Health has been defined as a state of perfect balance and true healing is that which brings about that kind of balance.
In 1978, Herbert Puryear, a clinical psychologist in the US observed that a holistic lifestyle demand:
- A balance between the inner outer aspects of life
- A balance between the physical, mental and spiritual portions of ones being
- Observe the cycles of life. Rejoice in the wisdom of divine timing. Things are brought forth in their due season. Fulfill the purposes of the cycles of your life. There is a time for everything under the sun.
- Walk the way of the middle path. Neither Jesus nor the Buddha was an extremist. Rejoicing in the middle path shows our acceptance of the nature of things as they exist, of the values of the middle way and of our willingness to give up the tendencies to express extremes n our actions and reactions
- Find your inner center the place to which you may return. We must know what we believe in, whom we believe and focus in that center of wisdom, love and power.
|The Holmes-Rahe Social Readjustment Scale|
|This table, developed by psychological researchers in the mid-1960’s, assigns point values to a list of stressful life changes. The researchers, T. Holmes and R. Rahe, concluded that an accumulation of 200 or more life change units in a single year tends to increase the risk of mental health imbalance, including anxiety and depression. As you reflect on your life during the past year, read through this table and see how many life change units your life scores.
|Event||Scale of Impact|
|Death of a spouse||100|
|Death of a close family member||63|
|Personal injury or illness||53|
|Fired at work||47|
|Change in health of family member||44|
|Gain of new family member||39|
|Change in financial state||38|
|Death of close friend||37|
|Change to different line of work||36|
|Change in number of arguments with spouse||35|
|Mortgage over $150,000||31|
|Foreclosure of mortgage or loan||30|
|Change in responsibilities at work||29|
|Son or daughter leaving home||29|
|Trouble with in-laws||29|
|Outstanding personal achievement||28|
|Wife begins or stops work||26|
|Begin or end school||26|
|Change in living conditions||25|
|Revision of personal habits||24|
|Trouble with boss||23|
|Change in work hours or conditions||20|
|Change in residence||20|
|Change in schools||20|
|Change in recreation||19|
|Change in church activities||19|
|Change in social activities||18|
|Mortgage or loan less than $150,000||17|
|Change in sleeping habits||16|
|Change in number of family get-togethers||15|
|Change in eating habits||15|
|Minor violations of the law||11|
Total up your points. If you scored over 200 you may have an increased risk.