At times you may wish you were dead or at some point you find fault in every action people take around you. If you find yourself in such a situation, then something is wrong somewhere. Exposure to stressful situations is one of the most common phenomenons in human life. Most people around the world no longer find life interesting because of the stress they have to go through on daily bases. Stress could be mental, physical or emotional. The daily demands of human beings have triggered nervousness.
Worries related to paying bills, family demands, marital and social problems, fear of losing a love one, and the likes are increasingly distracting people from stress free living. This phenomenon is not peculiar only to the poor as some of us may be tempted to think. The rich too experience stress. It is also peculiar to all the age groups. Living a stress free life may look somewhat difficult in a world full of uncertainties, endless demands, pressure, and constraints. Stress may however be challenging when there is too much or too little.
Stress can be defined as the body’s reaction to any change that necessitates an adjustment or a response. It can also be seen as a state of emotional strain coming from adverse or demanding circumstances. Stress causes a surge of hormones in your body. The body reacts to these changes in different ways. The response could be physical mental or emotional. This implies that you can experience stress from your thoughts, from your environment or your body. It may sound funny that even positive live changes such as financial breakthroughs, promotion or child birth can still cause stress.
Stress can either be positive or negative. Positive stress can be described as our perception of a situation that could be stressful, but we are optimistic about it. We choose to believe that such a situation is an opportunity that will provide a good outcome. The characteristics of positive stress may include, feeling of excitement or motivation, which may come because of child birth marriage or getting a new job.
Negative stress or distress on the other side comes because of our perception of events that cause feeling of uneasiness and anxiety. This way, we perceive the situation to have a negative outcome. Examples of events that may cause negative stress include the death of a loved one, illnesses or losing a job. Being stress free is difficult. Each day you will at one point in time find yourself on one side of the stress coin.
When people feel stressed by any event unfolding around them their bodies discharge chemicals into the blood. These chemicals give individuals energy and strength which can be advantageous if their stress is caused by physical danger.
Stress is subjective experience. This is because a bulk of stress we experience is based on our individual perception of the situation. This implies that the sources of stress can vary greatly, from one person to another. What I may perceive as stressful may not be a source of stress for some other person. Two people can experience the same pressure and react differently.
The question that may fill our minds after reading the abstract above will possibly be, what may be the possible ways to live a stress free life? Is living a stress free life possible? or perhaps are there stress free people in the world? Before answering the above questions, it is important to outline the types of stress.
TYPES OF STRESS
Understanding the types of stress is a step toward being stress free or better still gives you an insight of handling stress if you find yourself in one. So at the end of this section, you will either identify yourself with any of the types of stress or ascertain that you are amongst the few lucky stress free people that exist.
Acute Stress: Of all stress types, acute stress is the most commonly experienced since it comes from everyday demands and pressures we pass through. Just imagine crossing a road and a car almost knocks you down, you receive news that your darling husband or wife is dead, what would be your immediate action? Acute stress is the most common type of stress. It is the body’s immediate reaction to a new challenge, event or demand. It prompts your flight or fight response. In this situation your body turns to its own biological response.
It should be noted that acute stress is not always negative. For this reason, it could also be the feelings you derive when you are having fun at the beach. It is not always the case that acute stress comes along with health effects. Sometimes it might be healthy for you as these stressful situations prepares your body and brain in developing the best response to forthcoming stress. Sometimes victim of life threatening situations, such as, being caught up in a car accident can lead to mental health problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or acute stress disorder.
Acute stress can take the dimension of emotional distress, such as anxiety, anger, irritability, and acute periods of depression or physical problems such as headache, pain stomach upset, shortness of breath or bowel disorder.
Episodic acute stress: Let’s suppose that you live in a war-ravaged country like Syria for example and you hear gun shots on daily bases. You are always almost a victim of these frequent gun shots. What may accompany these daily experiences is episodic stress. Episodic stress occurs when acute stress becomes frequent. As earlier mentioned this type of stress is peculiar to those who are in crisis. These sets of people tend to display characteristics such as anxiousness, irritableness, or are always short tempered. Also, episodic stress is usual with people with negative health effects. They think of stress as part of their life.
Chronic stress: You just lost your job and as a result your wife as well as children no longer respect you because you are broke. Your life is characterized by poverty, you are not even able to afford daily needs and your home is a theater of insult and constant fight. In this case stress free living is a luxury to these class of people. These stressful situations seem to be unending and the accumulated stress results from them can be life-threatening and can lead a person to resort to violence, suicide and serious ailment such as heart attack or psychological problems such as post traumatic disorder.
All these happenings give a person chronic stress. If acute stress isn’t solved at its elementary level it develops to chronic stress. Physical signs and symptoms that are common with chronic stress include, dry mouth, difficulty in breathing, stomach ache, frequent urination, pounding heart and the list continues. On the other hand, chronic mental signs and symptoms of chronic stress include; difficulty in sleeping, frequent feelings of fatigue or tension.
Having discussed the types of stress, am pretty sure you have determined whether you are living a stress free life or not. From the above you can devise ways to live a stress free life, even though it is arguably difficult to find completely stress free people.
At this point, you should be asking yourself the ways to live a stress free life or better still the importance or benefits of living a stress free life. Lets look at the benefits stress free people get as a result of their living a stress less life.
One outstanding importance of being stress free is that it lowers blood pressure. High blood pressure is one of the most phenomenal killer diseases in the 21st century world. Imagine you could avoid this killer disease if you practice stress-free living. Wont you sacrifice anything to know ways to live a stress free life? The aim and end of life, I believe is living a happy life and this happy life cannot be achieved if you have an ailment such as high blood pressure.
Also stress-free living slows down aging. If you ask old people what they want in life, they would probably tell you one of their greatest wishes after good health is getting younger again. Studies have revealed that the chances of stress free people to get old quickly is slimmer as compared to people whose lives are characterized by stress.
We are living in a century where people sacrifice thousands of dollars in cosmetics and even go as far as doing a plastic surgery to look younger. Those who go the extra mile to get younger always pay a price at the end. I will not term that ignorance but there is a better and shorter way of slowing the aging process without applying cosmetics or doing plastic surgery. It is by practicing stress free living.
Being stress free increases your chances of good social cohesion. Mankind by nature is a social being. Every day we interact with people in our residential areas or job sites. In the case of chronic stress, sometimes a victim resorts to violence, this may not be his/her fault because he is acting from the dictates of a stressful life he is living. I do acknowledge that stress is not the sole cause of violence in the world, there are many causes of violence. Getting rid of one of causes of violence is a step toward ending violence in the world.
Being stress free increases the performance of your immune system. The immune system is a complex group of cells and organs that defend the body against diseases and infections. Stress causes these cells and organs that make up the immune system to release hormones that prompts the production of white blood cells to fight stress and other diseases. They also help in the priming the immune system to respond quickly to injuries and short-term illnesses. That notwithstanding, this activity is not beneficial to health if it becomes phenomenal. Continuous stimulation of the immune system because of stress causes the immune system to become suppressed and hence becomes less effective at fighting against diseases and infections. Stress free people are therefore liable to have a better performing immune system.
Added to the above stress-free living equally spares you from having sleepless nights. I bet you, you think about everything in this world when you have a sleepless night. This thinking adds to the stress you accommodate in your body. So being stress free is the most assured way of having good sleep.
Equally stress-free living improves the digestive system. We eat food on a daily bases and if our system cannot digest the food well, then, we are liable to contract Crohn’s disease. Many people experience stomach-ache or diarrhoea when they are stressed. Crohn’s disease comes because of excess release of hormones. Also hormones which are released as a result of stress causes physical changes which increase people’s appetite. This increase in appetite causes weight gain and what accompanies this is obesity. Obesity exposes individuals to the risk of developing other health malaise like diabetes, heart diseases or stroke. In line with chronic stress, people turn to lose appetite and eventually weight. To avoid these health complication, as listed above, one has to device ways to live a stress free life. Also living a life free from stress decreases the odds of contracting cardiovascular diseases. This is because continuous activation of stress hormones raises your heart rate, causing chest pain and heart palpitation.
Stress free living equally increases your performance at your job site. Imagine you are not able to attend to people at your job site because you are stressed up. That I guess, is the fastest way of attracting a sack latter from your boss. Your job is what feeds you and your family on daily bases. Imagine losing your job because you are not able to cope with stress. Being stress free increases your performance as far as your job is concerned.
The benefits of stress free living abound. What would obviously linger around in our mind is ,how can somebody live stress-free? What are the ways to live a stress free life or possibly how can stress be managed . Well, it is very simple if you follow the tips below.
One of the ways to live a stress free life is by scheduling time for yourself. Time management is one of the most difficult tasks one can ever think of. Schedule only a few important things each day and remember to put space between them. Simply put a schedule that gives you time to relax your brain and muscles. If you live such a life, be rest assured that you are treading on the safest path to the house of stress. Always ask yourself whether in your daily schedule there is time for relaxation. Relaxation may take many forms, you may choose to relax by watching a movie, by reading a book, or by taking a drink in a relaxed environment. Don’t ever mislead yourself by thinking working every single day of the month is being hard working. No you are rather stressing yourself. You may have a tight schedule and work that is unbearable, but you can always find a way of relaxing.
As John de Paola puts it, “slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you”. Learn to say no to extra burden in your professional life. Streamline your schedule by reducing the number of commitments in your life just to the vital ones. As Wayne Dyer puts it, “it is not the load that breaks you down but the way you carry it”.
Another way of living a stress free life is by regularly exercising. Exercise is the most important things you can do to fight against stress. Regular exercises do not only help you cut down your body weight and get rid of some diseases that are related to obesity but equally helps you relieve stress. Some times you just need to jump around your room or remove some excess sweat from your body. By doing so you are equally relieving yourself of stress.
Some people may not see physical exercise as a way of getting rid of stress. They think it only adds to the unbearable stress they are experiencing. Putting physical stress on your body through exercise can relief mental stress. The benefits are enormous if you exercise on a regular bases. Your chances of experiencing anxiety are slimmer as compared to those who do not do exercise at all. Regular exercise helps you get rid of stress hormones. Stress hormones such as Cortisol is lowered in the long run when you engage yourself in regular exercise. Regularly exercise, it can improve your sleep quality which can be adversely affected by stress. Also, when you do regular exercise you develop a sense of competence and confidence which in turn improves your mental wellbeing.
A tress free life is achievable if you avoid procrastinating. Procrastinating is a short cut to having a life void of stress. Do not push things you can do today to another day. Do not accumulate tasks, because at one point in time you won’t be able to do them without putting yourself into unnecessary stress. This means that you are running up and down to catch up with things that you would have done with relative ease had it been you did not procrastinate. Putting yourself to unnecessary pressure is like inviting stress. Set up your priorities and make up your mind to accomplish these priorities. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work toward respecting them.
Imagine you are a student and you are given an assignment to submit the next day, first thing in the morning. You come back home, and your friend invites you for his birth day party. You thought of doing the assignment but rather convinced yourself that you will do it after the birth day party. The birthday party extends late into the night and you decide to spend the night in your friend’s house. The next day you remember that you were to submit the assignment in the morning. You start doing the assignment under pressure. The time limit for submission has already elapsed. Your mind is filled with thoughts like; what if my lecturer refuses to collect my own copy and if he happens to refuses how will that affect your general performance. All these thoughts lead to mental stress. So avoid procrastination as much as you can.
Equally another way of getting rid of stress is by letting go of past grudges and anger. Sometimes you find it difficult to forget your past. Sometimes you can’t let go of the sad thoughts about people who have hurt you in one way or the other. But you must convince yourself and let go of such thoughts. You might be tempted to say that holding such grudges is makes the other person suffer. You may be expecting an apology from someone who had hurt you, but it never comes. People may not see your own point of view. Go ahead and apologize even if you were right and get rid of stress.
Get rid of stress by meditating. Sometimes you need to seat quietly in a calm environment and reflect. Meditating does not mean thinking about those things that stress you up. You should think about those things that can help you get rid of thoughts that stress you. This method helps in cleansing your mind. Whenever you feel burdened or better still when you feel weary or offended by something or someone, just take a deep breath and relax. Focus on your breathing while you exhale and inhale. Take note of how your body act when you breathe. If you want to conquer the anxiety of life live in the moment, live in the breath.
A meditation that last for say 20 minutes is enough to refresh and relax your mind and equally help to reduce anxiety. To achieve this, you need to avoid distractions. Things like cell phones laptops or television are a great distraction. So, you must get rid of them when you want to meditate. Find a relaxation technique that works for you and implement it on a daily bases is very important to relieving yourself of stress.
It sounds funny when people resort in taking alcohol or smoking when they are stressed. This is the most dangerous way of getting rid of stress. Resorting to drinking and getting drunk for example will not only jeopardize your health but will also add to your money problems which may in turn add to the stress you consider unbearable. Some people go as far as becoming aggressive as a way of relieving stress. If you resort to this, I bet you, you will accumulate stress that will be unbearable for you. So it is very important to avoid things that may relieve your stress momentarily and go for those that may provide a long lasting solution. As Hans Selye puts it, “it is not the stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it. It is difficult to live a perfect stress-free life but there is always a way to get rid of it. Tell that person in the mirror that “you will never be stressed again”. You can live a stress free life!