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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 health.

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.