A DOZEN TIPS TO BUILD YOUR RESILIENCY TO STRESS
More than twenty years ago, stress was the cover story in Time magazine. “Stress” was referred to as “The Epidemic of the Eighties,” and it was referred to as the nation’s number one health problem.
Flash forward to 2007. Results were released on December 12, 2007 from “Stress in America,” the American Psychological Association’s (APA) annual survey of stress in the general public in the U.S. The researchers interviewed 1848 adults 18 and over, and the interviews were conducted in both English and Spanish.
Seventy-nine percent of those surveyed believe that they cannot avoid stress and in the month prior to the survey, 77% of those surveyed experienced stress-related physical symptoms, including headaches, GI problems, and fatigue. Seventy-three percent admitted to emotional symptoms, including feeling nervous, lack of motivation, irritability, and anger. In addition, nearly half of Americans (43 percent) reported that stress negatively impacted their relationships with spouses or partners. A fourth of Americans believed that in the previous five years, their personal relationships suffered because of stress.
Since that report in 2007, the APA has found remarkably consistent findings each year. Add the holiday season to the mix, and for many, stress spikes even higher.
STRESS AND YOUR BODY
The domino effect of not controlling your stress levels is clear. Many studies have shown a direct link between stress and fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, gastrointestinal diseases, cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and macular degeneration.
We now understand that stress also impacts cholesterol levels, platelet activation (causing heart attacks), and shortened life span. Since sleeping difficulties negatively impact the immune system and lifespan and since stress is one of the main causes of insomnia, you can see your health and your life, itself, depend on taking charge of the stressors in your life.
For many people, stress levels spikeduring holiday season and here are the key reasons:
A DOZEN WAYS TO DEAL WITH LIFE’S STRESSORS, REGARDLESS OF THE SITUATION
It is important to remember that occasional or low levels of stress may actually be protective of our health! For example, stress makes us more vigilant to potential danger. So, totally eliminating our stress is not only impossible, but is probably not a good idea. It is prolonged and debilitating stress that is the culprit.
Both the National Mental Health Association and the American Psychological Association offer many recommendations to build resiliency against the inevitable stressors of life.
Here are a dozen ways to get started:
Our world these days is filled with invitations to worry and feel hopeless. But events and situations only represent 10% of the stress in our lives. What we do about these events determines whether we will be overwhelmed or resilient. Begin practicing these dozen stress-busting tips and watch your life take a turn for the best!
Jack Singer, Ph.D.