stress management, stress in america, chronic stress, healthIf your teeth are clenched and your fists are clenched, your lifespan is probably clenched.” -Terri Guillemets

Stress management is a hot topic with the release of the Stress in America survey last week. This annual survey helps to pinpoint sources of American’s stress level. It reveals sources in reference to gender, generation, and stress triggers.

According to this American Psychological Association survey, the top causes of stress in 2012 were money, work, the economy, family responsibilities, relationships, family health problems, and personal health concerns.

Although more people were concerned with healthy choices and the need to reduce stress, folks were having a difficult time achieving their health goals. These reasons include lack of willpower, lack of time, the cost of making changes and stress itself.

Are we getting numb to stress?

You may find that stress experienced on a daily basis may be manageable. However, a high level of stress can eventually be thought of as normal every day occurrence. Chronic stress that doesn’t change can lead to health issues. Ignoring anxiety won’t make it go away. It will manifest in other parts of your life, such as poor sleep and agitation. What if you believed there were other healthy options to cope with your anxiety?

How you see stress makes a difference

Stress is perceived differently with each individual. What can seem devastating to one person might not affect the next person at all. Your thoughts and reaction to stress is the key. A friend, I’ll call Janice, was overwhelmed with starting a side home business. She worked as an office manager during the day and handled home responsibilities with her family at night. After everyone was tucked into bed, Janice worked on developing her new business.

“I want to do something different with my life and help other people with my product and ideas,” she said.” It just seems like I’m always behind and I never feel caught up. I don’t have any time for me.”

You see, Janice saw her life as unmanageable when in fact she was paving her way to freedom. She looked at what was directly in front of her rather than the big picture.

You have choices in self- care.

Stress can seem overwhelming, leading some to believe that there is nothing to do about issues other than to endure them. Believe you have choices, even if you can’t see what other options are available.

Pick one response to stress you would like to change. Changing your reaction to stress doesn’t mean you need to shift everything at once. For example, a goal might be to eat healthier foods. However, you find yourself pushed and not planning meals during the day. Explore your choices in healthier eating. Maybe you choose to pack your lunch or pick healthier restaurants for meals. Making one healthier choice can lead to putting another change in place.

This is just one example of how to shift your stress behavior and overcome your barriers to a healthy life. Reach out for help if it is difficult to see how to manage our stress differently by contacting a health professional or coach. Your health does depend on it.

What stressful problem would you like you change? Leave you comments below.

38 thoughts on “Stress Management: Your Health Depends On It”

  1. The history, that you told, happens very often, and it is nice to understand that we have choices and can change our behaviors to have a better life!

  2. Yes, our health depends on it! Stress can be damaging to our health! I know! Stress gave me a stroke last February! I've learned how to deal with it….eating healthier, exercising more and taking "me time" when I know I need it. Thanks for sharing this post.  It may save someone a lot of heartache. 

  3. I have a problem dealing with stress but I have overcome so much of it! I love reading your tips and I need to tell you about weaning off of Zanax for PTSD and how I used oils to help me make it! ..;) Thanks so all the help you've given me!

  4. I would like to change the stress of not having enough time to get everything done.  I have been more accepting of this lately but it is always nagging in the background.

    1. That’s a tough one, Barbara. I like to review my goals and break down my to do list even more. That helps me to feel like I am making progress and see the next chunk ahead of me.

  5. Sometimes for me de-stressing equals putting down the FaceBook : D…however, as long as I have enough down time during the day and don't get too rushed, I seem to be able to handle it.

  6. I am currently working on my stress response to the computer. When I wake up in the morning if I am not careful I will get a tension in my chest thinking about the email and facebook I have to do. I am consciously focusing on being relaxed in the morning because so far being stressed hasn't changed my inbox one bit!

  7. That change of perspective…how you view the stress does make a big difference! When you reframed the example of Janice, that really struck home for me…because that is so true. It is all in how we look at it. Great idea to pick one small thing to change. Thanks, Lisa!

  8. I believe one of the best things people can do that feel stressed is to reach out for help. We may not be able to objectively see what is causing our stress and it is helpful to have someone else to discuss it with. Great reminder!

  9. Yes, choosing the healthiest of foods is a part of the way I help my body manage stress, as well as being selective about who i spend time with. Most of all, it is a loving-kindness meditation practice that helps me remain flexible in tense and worrisome situations. 

    1. Loving-kindness meditation is one of my favorite meditations. You are making great choices for self care!

  10. Yessssssss…picking ONE DO-ABLE thing leads to success vs. the old habit I had of thinking I had to change everything at once. Let's say that wasn't exactly the road to success, in any way, shape or form. Thanks for the reminder!

  11. Great post Lisa!  Stress is something that is always going to be there for most of us – the choices in how we deal with it are vast and the best way forward is to take one step at a time to see which method of stress management works.  For myself, I love deep breathing exercises and meditation.

  12. If your teeth are clenched and your fists are clenched, your lifespan is probably clenched.” ~Terri Guillemets…this week in review with my heart doctor, the subject of stress came up and I could not deny its very real presence in my life. I think that is why that quote strikes me so…anyway, I don;t want the stress yet it is there and i am not so gracefully dealing with it….I am scared of surrender, scared of accepting it, yet also so very aware that no one will change…only i can change my response…trouble is no one can tell me how because the circumstances cannot be changed and changing thise is the obvious answer…ok, gut spilling session over…lol

    1. Surrender is scary when it has to do with boundaries. It’s particularly hard accepting no one will change as well. What is very real is that your health is at stake. Chat with me and I’d love to help you.

  13. This is such a great post, Lisa – I so agree with your statement, "Believe you have choices, even if you can’t see what other options are available." As we learn to acknowledge and then deal with our stress, life certainly changes for the better. For me, it's to try get outdoors – either a hike or swimming laps, every day, enough sleep and not overs schedule, myself.

    1. It really helps me to to get outdoors, Lisa. It grounds my stress reaction and keeps things in perspective. Thanks!

  14. " … money, work, the economy, family responsibilities, relationships, family health problems, and personal health concerns."  Pretty comprehensive list of things that get under our skin and stress us out!

  15. Thank you so much for the reminder to look at the big picture instead of just what's in front of me. I have been too focused on the to-do list and not on the end results. 🙂

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