Have you ever wondered how can stress affect our health? For example, stress can mount after a long, tension-filled week at work, or several sleepless nights caring for a newborn. Or, experiencing restless, sleepless nights worrying about an event you are dreading in the near future. Regardless, you are right to be concerned about your health issues. You need to take precautions to protect your health when you can.
How can stress affect our health? The studies are clear that there are many ill-effects to prolonged experiences of stress: elevated blood pressure, heart problems, tension headaches, muscle aches—and these are some of the physical conditions. Mood changes, anxiety, depression and other emotional problems can occur as a result as well. Read my article listing the symptoms related to stress to learn more. I have also written an article about the physical effects of stress. Check them out and see if you are falling victim to stress.
But what can you do? Stress is everywhere and not leaving anytime soon.
Let’s get proactive. Let’s find ways to counter the negative ways stress affect our health on a daily basis. Four suggestions follow that you may find helpful to incorporate.
Be Positive—even when you don’t feel like it. Wake up each morning and give thanks that you are have a chance to make a positive imprint. Challenging situations may be looming, but by thinking of what you have to be thankful for first, you can start to become less focused on negative things that might happen. We’ve talked about gratitude journals—starting a list of 5 things you can be thankful for each day—this might be a great time to begin.
Believe in Yourself—even when you don’t feel like it. You’ve got talent. Yes you do—even when things seem to be going awry in life, stop. Take some time to regroup and remember the things you are good at doing—the tasks you enjoy doing. Have you gotten off track from using your strengths? What are those strengths? Are you good at organizing, lending support to others, whipping up a great meal, writing, business planning? We’ve said it before, and we continue to remind you that you need to set goals for a life plan that are based on using your strengths to get where you want to go. Please, take the time to remind yourself of your strengths and begin to use them as you navigate this chapter of your life. If you can’t determine what your best strengths are, ask your best friend, family and colleagues. They see these on a regular basis, even when you have forgotten to even notice anymore. We can’t let stress affect our health negatively if we don’t have to! Feeling good about using your talents to make you feel good about yourself is an important step forward.
Walk Away—even when you don’t feel like it. Toxins are bad for you. We know that. But toxins are limited to chemicals and bio-products. Toxins can also be defined as damaging situations and hurtful people. If you surround yourself with people who make you feel less about yourself, or you are involved with organizations that attack your self-esteem, it might be time to walk away and get involved with more positive, self motivating organizations and people. What worked in one chapter of your life may no longer be beneficial in this chapter. It may be difficult in work situations to avoid involvement with certain negative influencing co-workers, but limit your contact as much as possible. Stay positive about who you are, remind yourself of your talent and worth. Walk away when you can.
Reframe—even when you don’t want to. What chapter of your life are you currently building? Have you found a comfortable fit between you and the life you are living? Give yourself permission to stop the involvement with people and events that are pulling you down, and start to build on those things that fuel your passion. Stress increases when we feel uneasy about how we are fitting in with our own daily life. Letting this stress affect our health is unhealthy and unnecessary. You are worth the time to reassess who you are, where you are going and how you are going to get there.