It is no secret that stress is one of the top complaints of adults—old and young—in the United States. The physical effects of prolonged stress are numerous, including a greater susceptibility to illness, a lack of energy, problems with sleep, headaches, poor judgment, weight gain, depression, anxiety, and a host of other ills. Many people blame prolonged stress for their inability to maintain healthy relationships with family and friends.
So it stands to reason that we need some way to relieve the constant pressure, but, for the most part, we haven’t done a very good job of it. In order to relieve stress, we need to know what is causing it. Further, we need solutions in order to help all of us learn to reduce both the stressors and the pressure as much as possible.
The three main causes of stress today are:
- Poor health
It’s probably no surprise that these three great stressors are interrelated. A poor economy puts the highest pressure on those earning less than $50,000 (although people in all income brackets are feeling the strain). High unemployment rates, rising costs of food, gas, and other necessities, and the need to work long hours are all detrimental to inner peace, which can cause negative physical symptoms like those listed above. Whether you’re scraping by from paycheck to paycheck or sweating over high-stakes million dollar deals, these three concerns can take years off your life if you can’t learn to relax, let go, and find inner peace.
Each person deals with stress differently, so finding ways to cope with it are as unique and varied as the people feeling it. Overall, however, each of us needs to learn how to do the following:
- Learn to let go of things over which you have no control. You can’t control everything, but you can pick your battles.
- Cultivate gratitude. Being grateful for what you do have—even if it’s not a lot or not what you want forever—is a powerful antidote to stress.
- Find some way to relax. Twenty minutes of quiet meditation a day is powerful medicine. There’s always some way to scrape together at least twenty minutes to meditate, pray, or lie or sit quietly with your eyes closed listening to relaxing music.
No one ever lay on his deathbed and lamented that he didn’t stress enough about the little, unimportant things. In the end, what will matter most to you: a purpose-filled life of gratitude or a life driven by a sense of lack and worry? The one thing you do have absolute control over is your attitude.
If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, substance abuse issues, or other mental health issues, extra stress is horrifying. It’s time to get help. Visit Houston Behavioral Healthcare Hospital’s Homepage to learn more about the inpatient and outpatient adult programs we offer and to call for a free and confidential assessment today.