Stress: Causes and Cures
By Charles Hopkins
Published 09/20/2007 | Health
Unfortunately, stress is a part of life and can't be completely
avoided. In fact, it's said that a little bit of stress is good for our
well-being, and exercises our faculties. However too much stress can
cause serious damage to our physical and mental health.
While it may sound simplistic, and even somewhat scolding, stress
is fundamentally an attitude of mind. When a series of problems occur,
and most importantly, when you come to believe you don't have what it
takes to solve them, chronic stress can be the result. So it's
important for each of us to try to keep stress levels at a minimum.
Stress in the Workplace.
Business can go through good and bad periods. Employees and
business owners alike are often given, or give themselves, unrealistic
deadlines to achieve near impossible goals. Competitive fast-paced
businesses can be fun, however business goals must be believable and
realistic, or destructive stress reactions can be the result.
If you or your staff is disillusioned with unrewarding work, you
can become demoralized and unmotivated. The resulting procrastination
and avoidance can be your wake-up call that you and your business are
about to suffer from the stress resulting from unbelievable and
therefore unreachable goals.
Many Internet businesses, and especially new ones, will go through
periods of low income and will not initially have the security of a
regular income. A wise practice, even after income has seemingly become
predictable and has reached a comfortable level, is to build up a
backup fund in a bank account. When your business is doing well, put as
much money as you can into this account (10% to 20% is suggested by
professional money managers). You can then draw on this fund in the
leaner times, avoiding stress and still having the security of a
regular income. The resulting peace of mind and worry-free workday can
multiply your productivity.
The Power of Laughter and Fun
Laughter helps a person to see the lighter side of a problem and
keeps the mind cool and calm. Fun means maintaining a balance in life,
taking time out, keeping your sense of humor as you pace yourself and
being entertained by the downs as well as the ups in life. Stress
relief is not about escaping stress; it's about keeping everything in
perspective. Stress is a by-product of the highly competitive
environment in which we live, and stress relief, through recreation and
laughter, helps you to relax and regain your balance.
The Power of Music
Music reduces stress. The old phrase from Congreve: 'Music hath
charms to soothe the savage breast' still has a place in contemporary
society. While the effect can be exaggerated, it's nonetheless true
that the right kind of music can help you shift your mood. Think about
how a song influences you. Specific music choices provide specific
music-sonic patterns, and with the support of proven breathing
exercises, the music can actually alter your state of consciousness.
This can bring about one of the best stress management techniques of
all: simple relaxation.
Meditation, yoga, massage, aromatherapy, and listening to music can
all work together or singly to help you to dynamically relax. Listening
to your favorite music while gardening can also enhance your relaxation
experience. Both because of its memory associations with pleasant
events and for reasons that are not yet well understood, music can
almost immediately favorably alter your mood, and offers both short and
long-term benefits in relieving stress.
The Power of Relaxation
Developing the capacity to relax is at the foundation of any
program undertaken to overcome any form of stress. The old saying,
"stop and smell the flowers" is not that far off. Your body needs time
to repair itself and taking time to rest and relax can do wonders for
you, not only physically but mentally as well. Relaxation reduces
stress and counters the tendency we have to overreact to common
stressors with additional mental, emotional and physical stress.
Sleepless nights and lack of energy can also be caused by stress and
can exaggerate and magnify its effects. Finding ways to relax on a
regular basis is very important to help lower your chance of developing
serious stress related illness.
The Importance of Self-Care
Helping your body to relax when stress levels get to be too much is
the first step in relieving the destructive effects of stress. Taking
just a few minutes out of your day to lower your stress is important
for your mind, and your body. Understanding what causes you stress will
help you greatly to take back control of your life.
Researchers have found that the biological changes that take place
in the body in times of stress are very significant in the development
of disease. Sometimes the stress is emotional rather than physical and
the body is not allowed to release the physical tension created by
stress hormones. While stress itself isn't always bad, prolonged stress
can be damaging to your physical as well as your mental and emotional
Apply the power of laughter and fun, of appropriate music, and
especially a laid-back attitude coupled with healthful sleep and
physical relaxation, and the stresses that are a normal part of life
will only add to your personal power and well-being.