Stress is part of our daily lives. How many times a day do you hear people say “I’m under so much stress with work”, or ” If I earned more money I wouldn’t be so stressed” or are these things you say yourself regularly? Unfortunately for many people today the solution is to reach for a quick-fix – take anti-depressants, have a drink or two and take sleeping tablets to help you sleep. While these may block the stress temporarily – when you wake the following morning – you will still feel the same as the night before, and in many cases worse.
If everyone has stress in their lives, in one form or another, why is it that some people seem to go through life without a care and others are always on alert and the slightest event can set them off in a rage (take the road rage incidents on the increase today)? Is life that much more stressful today than our parents or grandparents day? While there are arguments for and against this, I won’t be discussing that here, but more about ways to deal with the stress that is affecting many on a daily basis.
While this sounds simplistic, the first step with dealing with stress is being aware of it! Many people today try to ignore what is going on in their lives, until one day, it hits them like a ton of bricks. Stress can build up, and while each day you may not notice that tension in your shoulders, that continuous clenching of your jaw or that rapid shallow breathing you have become used to, over time these symptoms and others can have a dramatic affect on your overall health.
While you are sitting reading this post, stop for a moment, and quickly scan your body. Is your neck tight, is your jaw clenched, are you sitting rigidly in your chair? Chances are, your body needs some relief. Exercise in any form can help release this stress from your body. A simple walk around the block, a swim in the pool, gardening – any type of physical exercise will help. How many of us come home from a stressful day at work, immediately reach for a drink or two and sit in front of the television until its time to try and go to sleep?
For me, meditation has been a wonderful way to reduce my stress levels by helping me recognize the tension in my body and enabling me to slowly release it. If I don’t have time for a full meditation session, and lets face it, sometimes it is nearly impossible to go and sit quietly for 30 minutes, I simply get up from the situation I am dealing with, preferably go outside and release the tension in my body by tensing and relaxing each muscle group. This may only take a couple of minutes, and it is worth every second of it.