When I was a little girl, I remember being afraid of monsters. In fact, I can remember specific reoccurring nightmares as far back as the age of 2 that consisted of Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolfman chasing me through my house. The worst part was no one was ever around to protect me and it was always so dark and scary. A few years later, I figured out a cool trick; I learned the how to control some of my dreams which gave me the ability to overcome the monsters. My choices were to either imagine them disappearing or stand toe-to-toe and give them a fight! Sometimes it didn’t work, but boy was I glad for the times it did!!! Now as an adult, I find myself still fighting, except I’m awake and it’s not Dracula that I have to make disappear—this particular “monster” is real and is nothing to take lightly. It’s powerful enough to rob people the quality of life and it has and is taking them to their early graves…and it’s called STRESS!
Around the age of 8, I remember seeing a cartoon drawing with a crazed looking zebra with awkwardly placed strips and the words “STRESSED” boldly posted underneath. Out of sheer curiosity, I asked my grandmother what it meant and she gave me the best interpretation for my child-like mind. At the first impression, it didn’t sound all that threatening, but the older I grew, it became less comical and more serious in my life. For years, I’d run from it and hoped that it would just go away, but I was only prolonging the inevitable—-stress wasn’t going anywhere! Thankfully, I grew up with many wise people who gave me many nuggets of wisdom. One being that instead of sitting and waiting for it to go away, I had to learn to stand up and beat it or else it was going to take over my life!
- Stress is recognized as the number one proxy killer disease today. The American Medical Association has noted that stress was the basic cause of more than 60 percent of all human illness and disease.
- It is estimated that American businesses lose approximately $200-$300 billion dollars per year to stress related productivity loss and the treatment costs.
- Every week, 95 million Americans suffer some kind of stress related symptoms for which they take medication.
- A 20-year study conducted by the University of London concluded that unmanaged reactions to stress were a more dangerous risk factor for cancer and heart disease than either cigarette smoking or high cholesterol foods.
- A survey of 201 U.S. corporations revealed that 60% of all managers felt that stress related illness was pervasive among their workers and decreased productivity at an estimated cost of 16 days of sick leave and $8,000 per person per year. (source lessstress.net)
- Prayer. Go to the source of all your needs. Get to a quiet and comfortable place to simply talk to God and carefully listen! He has His own unique way of sharing what we need to know to get the direction we need.
- Relax. Newsflash, you can’t do it all all the time! So you need a break to maintain balance and prevent or counteract the ugly effects of stress. Here’s a bonus tip: Put a schedule together and ink in relaxation time with no exceptions and stick to it! You will thank yourself later!
- Breathing exercises. Practicing breathing exercises can not only do wonders for the body, but consequently bring benefits to our mind and emotions.
- Indulge in healthy distractions. Whatever we choose to focus on, it becomes magnified (bigger and bigger). To minimize stress and maximize the right attitudes, we have to divert our attention to things that will bring us a boost in our emotions. These activities can range from a hobby, having a good laugh or a great conversation with a friend so be creative!
- Exercise. When we regularly exercise, we bring a positive balance back to the functions of our bodies and minds, including the release of endorphins [the bodies’ natural pain-killer and “happy hormone”]. We will be able to think more clearly and have much better chances to stand against the stressors that may come as opposed to not exercising at all.