Anxiety aka stress is worry that’s out of control. It damages physical and mental health in many ways. The Mayo Clinic, among other medical and mental health facilities and experts, has described the phenomenon and even how to tame it. Avoiding upset stomachs and lives, heartaches and migraines can be done, and it takes practice. Let’s look at how stress hurts and how to make the pain end, step by step.
There are plenty of premises for people to stress out over, as evidenced at the National Institute of Mental Health’s research numbers on the mental health (or lack of it) topic. If the issues are not dealt with in productive, problem-solving ways, they can sicken and kill the sufferers.
Medical evidence proves that females who stress out damage their hearts. But anxiety is an equal-opportunity problem. Males enduring stress over long periods of time or in repeated bursts can experience deteriorating health, too. The problem hurts people of every age, not only adults. The reason for that is the chemically-induced chain reaction that occurs as someone perceives a threat to their well-being; our endocrine (hormonal), gastrointestinal (digestive), immune, respiratory, neurological, metabolic and integumentary (skin) systems misfire. They can eventually collapse under the strain. Appearances worsen, postures turns into a pretzels and attitudes sour while medical problems aka additional causes for stress increase. Regard them as alerts to your need for better responses- not reactions, responses – to stress.
Conventional wisdom indicates that exercise, meditation and yoga can undo and prevent physical and mental health damage. Doctor Dean Ornish even came up with a diet for men and women to heal their damaged hearts. Some mental health professionals advise the public on how to deal with “toxic,” problematic people. There are other user-friendly stress-busters.
Many mental health experts have shared insights into healing unhappy minds and miserable souls. They base their work on the idea that perception is a key for managing stress; Think of it this way: The situation is one thing, and the meaning that you attach to it is the source of your anxiety aka stress. Some people laugh at things that their peers find depressing. People have the choice to interpret issues as problematic, or as reasons to set goals for ending problems, as opportunities for emotional and mental growth (maturity and increased wisdom), and even as reasons to build up physical strength as they redirect stress-induced chemicals to better use during body-building exercises.
You can fight back at physical and mental threats to your health, and improve them. Here are some tips for lowering, even ending stressful behavior patterns:
- Hesitating when you face difficulty. Re-think your premise. Talk things over with someone you trust. Pursue helpful perspectives and support them with appropriate behavior. Practice can improve this behavior until it becomes an automatic response for you.
- Breaking unproductive and counterproductive patterns. Learn to behave in solution-oriented ways when you feel stressed.
Screaming doesn’t build self-esteem and it rarely motivates the victims to do your bidding. Breathing deeply to buy tie for calming down enables people to speak calmly even if they feel alarmed, vindictive or otherwise nasty.
Decide to laugh off problematic situations as you heroically pursue solutions to them. Think of the saying, “When you find some humor in a given problem, you win.” It means that you cannot be destroyed by stressors by using willpower and better perspective to defeat problems!
Do things that leave you proud of yourself, not ashamed forever after.
Focus on the facts of a situation, not on your emotional reactions to it. By taking on a problem in part acts, addressing the overall problem one aspect at a time, you enable yourself to be realistic with the people who caused your problem, with the people who can help you to solve the problem, and with the techniques for preventing new problems.
To paraphrase Dr John Sarno in his book about defeating back pain, look in the mirror and say “This will not control or destroy me.” Smile at your stronger self, and carry on with a sense of pride as you reduce some problems to history and minimize the rest.
Yocheved Golani is a popular writer whose byline has appeared worldwide in print and online. A certified Health Information Management professional, she is a member of Get Help Israel. Certified in Spiritual Chaplaincy (End of Life issues) and in counseling skills, her life coaching for ill people puts healthy perspective into a clients’ success plan for achieving desired goals.