Three Powerful Steps to Relieve Stress!

By Darla Dawald Published 04/11/2006 | Health

What is stress? Why do we have stress? How can we relieve stress?

Do you ever feel like you have too much on your plate? Everyone expects something from you and you don't seem to have the time required to deliver. You notice the muscles in your neck and shoulders become tense and painful, your head hurts, you feel a bit queasy in your stomach, and your heart races. These are all signs that your body is stressed.

Stress is inevitable and no one can ever be stress free. The body has a built in mechanism to push us through difficult situations. When you have a lot on your plate the biological changes that occur are that your body releases two stress hormones, one is cortisol and the other adrenaline. Prolonged affects can become destructive in that these two chemicals actually suppress the immune system and can cause numerous health problems like heart disease, stroke, cancer, and depression. The stress hormones are released in the body, this is referred to as the "fight or flight" response. The adrenaline and cortisol is released to aid in a physical form for example you are in a car accident and a loved one is pinned under the vehicle, you suddenly have the strength to pick up the vehicle to pull the loved one out. You didn't turn into the incredible Hulk although the chemicals in your body do provide an instant surge of strength that makes you feel like the big green monster!

Over time when you suffer from psychological or mental stress these chemicals build up in the body without an outlet to dispel them. An abundance of these stress hormones over a prolonged period of time can cause numerous health issues, depression, anxiety, and panic disorders.

Three Tips for Relieving the Stress Hormones:

1. Exercise: Taking time to exercise will not only improve your body and its physical appearance it will assist in releasing the stress hormones that have been building up. A daily vigorous walk, jogging, weight lifting, aerobics, swimming, bike riding, dancing or a dance class, football, basketball, etc are all great ways to relieve the chemical stress hormones.

2. Eating Right: Eating a balanced diet will not only make you feel better it will relieve some of the stress and certainly won't add to it. When you eat a diet high in sugars, cholesterol, and fat, you add to the trauma in your system. Concentrate on a high protein, veggie, fruit diet and you will see remarkable improvements. Also whole grains promote production of the brain neurotransmitter serotonin for a greater sense of well-being. When you combine healthier eating with exercise your body will respond favorably and the stress levels will start to decrease.

3. Change Your Mindset!: If you walk around all day saying "I'm so stressed", you will be. Positive thinking is crucial to relieving the mental stress. Our minds are so powerful that we can actually increase our stress by the way we think and the things we speak. If you develop a new mindset that is positive in nature and optimistic, studies have shown this to be a reliever of stress. Meditation is a prime way to change your mindset and refocus on the positives and what is really important. Try yoga or visualization imagery to assist.

These three steps alone can improve your mental and physical status. Here is a poem that helps me to put things into the correct perspective:


There are two days in every week about which we should not worry. Two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.

One of these days is yesterday with its mistakes and cares, Its faults and blunders, Its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday. We cannot undo a single act we performed. We cannot erase a single word we said. Yesterday is gone.

The other day we should not worry about is tomorrow. With its possible adversities, it's burdens,

its large promise and poor performance. Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control.

Tomorrow's Sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds, but it will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is yet unborn. This just leaves only one day . . . Today. Any person can fight the battles of just one day.

It is only when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities' - yesterday and tomorrow that we break down.

It is not the experience of today that drives people mad. It is the remorse or bitterness for something that happened yesterday and the dread of what tomorrow may bring.

Let us therefore live but one day at a time.

Author Unknown (Possible author Jennifer Kritsch)

Today is a new day, live for today and don't worry over tomorrow or yesterday. Take measures to make this day less stressful and each day that comes. Fight for today because tomorrow is not here yet and we do not know what tomorrow brings. Make your plans for the future, however, those plans should focus on your preparation to handle whatever is thrown your way. Prepare by setting up an exercise program, a better diet and a new mindset and everything will fall into place.

And one other important bit of advicestop, smell the roses along the way, and whatever you do make time for laughter. Laughing increases endorphins that make you feel so much better. On your way home tonight stop and rent a good comedy or watch Everybody Loves Raymond.

Best Wishes in your endeavor to relieve stress in your life!

Darla G. Dawald
Stress Expert,
Author, Speaker, Consultant

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