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Stress, what comes to mind when you hear that word? We live in a stressful society and generally people are more stressed out than ever before. But, do you actually know what the stresses are in your life? Sure, there are the obvious ones like difficult work situations and challenging relationships, but there are a lot of subtle sources of stress all around.
Our society actually revolves around a certain amount of stress. Advertisers often use subtle stressors to sell products. You see ads that make you think you might be doing something wrong, you aren’t living up to a certain standard, or you don’t have the latest technology and your life won’t be ok if you don’t get their product. We can all say, “Well of course I know that’s just marketing” but we are fed this kind of content continuously and almost subconsciously. It can have a cumulative effect. We also have the stress of seeing what’s going on in the world around us politically, environmentally, and globally and often feel worried or at the very least dissatisfied with how things seem to be going. It can add to the overall stress in your life.
There are other kinds of stress that we subject ourselves to on purpose. Exercise is a form of stress that we put upon ourselves that, as long as we don’t overdo it or take it to unhealthy extremes, is actually quite good for us. We read books, watch TV shows and movies that are full of action, suspense and violence. These cause a certain level of stress in us as well but again, as long as it’s done in small doses and not constant, is actually ok for us. What about watching the news? Yes, that is another outside source that can actually cause stress in our system.
We also worry. Some of us worry a lot. About everything. All the time. We worry about the stuff we see and hear in the media, we worry that we’re not doing well at work or school, we worry that people don’t like us, we worry about our kids, parents, pets, we worry that we don’t have enough money, time, or energy. The list goes on and on. Some people have anxiety issues that are quite extreme and they find it debilitating. This kind of stress in more internal, it’s another kind of stress we do to ourselves but it’s not conscious.
There is also a lot of stress involved in illness. Whether it’s you or someone you love that is suffering with chronic health issues, it’s a huge source of stress physically, emotionally and often financially. Just being in chronic pain is a source of stress that affects other parts of your body.
It’s important to recognize the areas of stress in your life. Once you know where your stress is coming from, internally or externally it’s easier to make a plan to reduce it. Some people find getting more organized in their lives reduces their stress so they make lists, tend to be very task oriented, like to keep things neat and tidy etc. Other people see that they are wound very tightly at work most of the time and need to “blow off steam” in their free time. They might take up a sport, dancing, going to hear music, spending time with friends or indulging their creativity in art or music. Other people find that the best stress relief is quiet and solitude. These people will be more likely to meditate, write, go for walks in nature or just get more sleep. Some people recognize that they can’t handle the stress on their own and seek professional help from counselors, massage therapists and natural health practitioners to assist them in making a plan and getting support emotionally or physically to relieve it.
There is no wrong answer to how you go about relieving stress in your life as long as it is healthy and sustainable. As an example, drinking and drug use are not healthy or sustainable and add more and different stresses to your body. Many seek all natural stress relieving supplements as an healthy alternative. The important thing is to see where the stress is coming from and work to reduce or counteract it with something that makes you feel calmer and happy.