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Stress Busters
Perusing the Funk and Wagnall’s Standard College Dictionary, Copyright, 1963, I came upon the word stress. Of the seven definitions offered for this noun, it was not until number six that “emotional or intellectual strain or tension” was even mentioned. In a strange way, this confirms the fact that stress of this nature has indeed escalated to new heights during the last 45 years.

Due in part to modes of rapid transportation and the technology of 21’st Century communication, the pace of modern living has accelerated to a fevered pitch. When the dust settles at the end of each day, many people feel an unhealthy burden of pressure, anxiety and fatigue.

According to medical researchers, stress is a confirmed or suspected contributing factor in many illnesses including the common cold, flu, ulcers, high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, mental illness, heart disease and cancer. Some estimates attribute 60-90% of medical visits to stress related disorders.

Acknowledging that a certain amount of stress in unavoidable, it is still possible to make lifestyle choices that will diffuse unhealthy anxiety and strain to a manageable level. Consider the following “5” stress busters.

  • Reduce Noise - Pollution T.V., radio, freeways, blenders, lawn maintenance equipment, etc. all increase stress due to noise. Silence is at a premium in today’s world but it can be found. Schedule a quiet time each day to tune out as much noise as possible and recharge your batteries.
  • Exercise is a known de-stressor, especially when enjoyed in nature. In addition, studies show it to be a mood enhancer. A heightened state of relaxation follows a good workout in the open air and sunshine for hours afterward.
  • Sleep - 1250 people responded to a survey revealing the frequency and intensity of stress experienced. Only 10% said they never felt stressed. Those who felt great stress every day admitted to sleeping six or less hours per night.
  • Slow Down -  Don’t get caught up in the frenzy; you have a choice! Talk slower – people will understand you better. Eat slower – you will enjoy your food more as you savor every bite. Your digestion will also be better. Drive slower – relax as you take in the passing scenery knowing you won’t get a speeding ticket and will have less chance of an accident.
  • Disconnect Periodically - Computers and cell phones are marvelous inventions that will heighten your stress and control your life if you let them. Set phones on vibrate or off when sleeping. Enjoy walking without your Blackberry. Take a vacation without your lap top. You’ll be surprised how a week without technology will refresh you!
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By Kathy A. Lewis. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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