The Stress Mess

I don't know about you, but I've noticed that people are a lot more stressed out lately than they were before. I sense this increase in stress everywhere I go- at the groccery store, the workplace or just walking around the city, people arent as happy-go-lucky as they appeared even a year ago. With modern life and all the changes that have occured in our economy within the last year this comes as no suprise. In a recent poll administered by the American Psychological Association they found that Americans are definetly feeling the increase in stress with nearly 48% stating that their stress levels have increased significantly over the past five years. This stress is contributing to increases in health problems, poor relationships and lost productivity at work. According to psychologist Russ Newman, "stress in America continues to escalate and is affecting every aspect of people's lives-from work to personal relationships to sleep patterns and eating habits, as well as their health. We know that stress is a fact of life and some stress can have a positive impact, however, the high stress levels that Americans report experiencing can have long-term health consequences, ranging from fatigue to obesity and heart disease."

Stress will always be present in our lives in varying degrees so, now is the time to find effective ways to manage your stress in order to maintain your health!
"Rule No. 1 is, don't sweat the small stuff. Rule No. 2 is, it's all small stuff. And if you can't fight and you can't flee, flow."

Personal Tips for combating stress:

1. Learn relaxation exercises: try deep breathing, visualization or meditation. If this doesn't appeal to you take a hot bath or find a book that you enjoy. Knowing that everyone's different, find what relaxation technique works for you!

2. Talk it out!: Talking to friends and family about the problem can help you blow off some steam and give you the perspective you need to solve problems more easily. Do not bottle up your emotions and stress this will lead to isolation and frustration

3. Find a passion: Get involved in something you love. It may be an activity you used to be involved in or something you've always wanted to try but thought you didn't have the time. Now is the time to regain that passion to find a healthy outlet.

4. Get moving: Develop a regular exercise routine that you enjoy and can stick with. Stress produces chemicals that make you feel tense. Exercise helps move these chemicals through your body. Try to get at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week.

5. Get your beauty sleep: It's recommended to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night to feel renewed and refreshed. If you're having troubles sleeping this may mean that you need to increase your exercise routine or learn some techniques such as reading or taking a warm shower before bed.

6. Eat healthy: Eating a balanced diet will not only make you feel better but will give you energy and build up your immune system.

7. Learn to accept and adapt to change- Change is a fact of life. Major work and life changes are common. Whether you welcome or dread these changes, they can all be extremely stressful unless you learn to adjust to them. Take time to recover, refocus and regenerate during a major life change.

Your father knows what you need before you ask him. So do not worry, saying 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today's trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:8b, 31-34)

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