Your drive toward self improvement will stall without effective stress relief techniques. Pressures and frustrations of modern life, primarily psychological, test the limits of our nerves.
From blaring car alarms (in the middle of the night!), micro managing bosses (I wish she'd get off my back), two-career marriages (I miss you, honey), to six-mile traffic jam and rude sales clerks. Stresses like these strain our ability to cope. We overburden our bodies' "emergency response" systems. Can simple stress relief techniques really ease this load?
Problems associated with stress result from complicated interactions between the demands of the outside world and the body's capacity to manage potential threats.
From the work place to personal relationships and parenting, the symptoms of stress take their toll. We worry and fear, experience intrusive thoughts and panic attacks. We feel tired, work less efficiently, and have difficulty concentrating.
Physically, multiple symptoms such as indigestion, headaches, skin complaints, slowing of immune system to fight off invaders, all scream for stress relief.
Nerve cells in that part of the brain that contribute to memory begin to atrophy because of chronic stress ("Where did I set my keys?). Also, cortisol, a powerful stress hormone, when secreted in excess amounts increase fat deposits in the waist and belly.
Our sex drive is also affected. During times of stress, reproductive and digestive systems are considered less important by our bodies (not needed for either "fight or flight"), thus the first "sacrificed". Chronic stress thus effects performance and appetite. Stress also contributes to heart disease, diabetes and arthritis.
Along with exercise, a wholesome diet and obvious lifestyle considerations (cut out the cigarettes, drink only in moderation, etc.), nothing beats a good stress relief technique.
Changing the context of stress can also go a long way toward enhanced well being. Certain psychological attitudes can create a less stressful outlook on life. For instance:
Practice "detachment" (don't sweat the small stuff). Let life flow without dread and negative emotional entanglements. In other words, hating conditions or wishing things were different tend to maintain and support the condition. We can always create other conditions and situations, just as we created these.
Trust the presence within you (intuition; the power of choice; positive emotions; etc.) which grants all you need to handle all that life presents.
Nurture Self-Esteem (self-respect, feelings of worthiness);
Beware of depression (feelings of unhappiness, guilt and inadequacy, losing motivation and interest) and anxiety (excessive worries, feelings of fear, aggression, reliving upsetting events).
Remember that our fight or flight responses run on auto-pilot... unconsciously. Stress relief must be consciously pursued.
Also value your idle time. Perhaps consider crossword and other puzzles or play Sudoku for stress relief.
Above all, know love as the most powerful stress reliever. Love yourself and your situation or condition. Through your decision, action and emotion, creation takes place. Lovingly let go of the misguided creations, not to turn your back on your responsibilities, but to co-create the highest and best experience for all concerned... then move on.
After reading all the right books, listening to the right tapes, investing in self improvement seminars and workshops... learning the techniques of positive change, could stress relief be your missing key to success?
Take a look at these articles covering several immediate stress relief methods including...