By Jacqueline L. Scheier, D.O.
Life is stressful. Work, family, money and relationships can combine with larger concerns such as terrorism or the economy to make us feel on edge. Stress occurs when we feel that the demands placed upon us go beyond our ability to cope.
Sometimes, stress is a good thing because it spurs us to take necessary action. However, unchecked chronic stress can result in serious conditions, including anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system.
Some people deal with stress better than others. Unfortunately, some turn to drugs or alcohol when they feel high levels of stress, which ultimately creates more stress and is not a healthy long term solution. Other people lash out at others, overeat or engage in other potentially harmful behaviors. However, there are healthy ways to deal with stress that can help you cope and positively impact your mental and physical health.
It’s no surprise to see yoga on a list like this. Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual discipline. Even if you don’t embrace it for all those reasons, it can help you to slow down and take a brief break from your hectic life. Plenty of people are embracing yoga – according to a study by Yoga Journal, more than 36 million Americans practice yoga. Eighty-six percent of those people report having greater mental clarity.
Physical activity is a great way to relieve stress, whether it’s going for a run, a leisurely walk in nature or lifting weights at the gym. Exercise can help you blow off steam, as well as provide obvious physical benefits.
Often, people will tend to overindulge in junk or comfort food when they’re feeling over aught. However, eating unhealthy foods puts more strain on your body and can negatively impact your mood. While you might be inclined to reach for a bag of chips and a beer, healthier options will leave you feeling better mentally and physically. Importantly, when you’re under stress you should know turning to alcohol or drugs is a bad path to go down.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed and aren’t sure where to turn, don’t be bashful about seeking professional assistance. Talking to an experienced therapist can help you to see your stressors in a new light and learn to cope with them better.
Get in Touch with Your Spiritual Side
For some folks, turning to prayer or taking solace in meditation can help to soothe their frayed nerves. A spiritual approach can provide new perspectives, help you to develop “self-compassion” and release emotions that are causing stress.
Help Someone Else
If you’ve ever taken part in a charitable event or even when you simply compliment someone, you know the smile you receive immediately makes you feel better about yourself.
Take a Break
Whether it’s getting up from your desk at work for a 15-minute walk, weeklong vacation or taking time for yourself with a massage, coffee break or conversation with a friend, sometimes you just need to get away from it all to refocus and de-stress.
About the Author
Specializing in family medicine, Dr. Scheier strives to work with patients in obtaining their short-term and long-term health goals. She works to gain their trust through open and honest conversation in assisting them to achieve these goals.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Scheier, please call 484-446-3660.