STRESS INCREASES DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON
What is Stress?
Its Causes, Signs and Symptoms, and How It Can Be Managed
By Dr. Monica Ennis
Many of us tend to forget about healthy eating during the holiday season. Thanksgiving and Christmas parties tend to provide enough excuses for eating more of what is usually not eaten during the months before November. The holidays can be enjoyed without over eating or eating too many foods that are not healthy.
Gaining weight during the holidays can cause unnecessary stress. Try eating smaller portions, and do not snack between meals. Walking for 20 minutes will help your body remain healthy in many ways. Drink sufficient amounts of water and prepare some healthy dishes for you and your family.
It’s that time of the year again. For many reasons the holiday season causes an increase in stress related illnesses and other stress related health problems. Stress should not be ignored and should be considered a serious health issue. One of the reasons stress should be considered a serious health issue is because it can lead to heart attacks, depression, and suicide. The current economy has caused people to experience a great deal of stress. Learn to recognize what signs indicate that your stress level is too high. Question what is causing you so much stress. Ask yourself, if it is really worth stressing over? Put this information where it will be a daily reminder.
WHAT IS STRESS?
Stress is the body’s reaction to demands placed on it. Stress also occurs when the outcome of a situation differs from the expected outcome. For example, we expect health, successful careers, healthy families, obedient children, positive relationships, and a successful marriage. Instead, we get sickness and disease; children who won’t listen, divorces, and job and relationship problems. All of these problems can bring about serious stress. However, the good news is that stress can be managed one day at a time. Have faith in yourself and you can get through difficult times. If you are dealing with a major health issue this only adds to your stress level.
WHY DOES STRESS CAUSE SO MANY HEALTH PROBLEMS?
Research supports the fact that stress is America’s #1 health problem. Most people refuse to make physical and mental health a priority. America has the best health care system in the world yet Americans tend to be some of the unhealthiest people in the world. This problem stems from the fact that many Americans do not diet, exercise, get annual physicals and check ups, or follow their doctor’s instructions. As a result, many Americans experience poor physical and mental health.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF STRESS
Any major medical condition, illness, or disease can be caused by stress. For example, stress causes diabetes, ulcers, gastrointestinal conditions, strokes, and heart attacks. Stress can cause dry mouth and throat, increased respiration, insomnia, irritability, hair loss, back and neck pain, headaches, impaired memory, anxiety attacks, increased heart rate, decreased productivity, overreaction to minor issues, nervous behavior, depression, and suicide. The increase in incidents of phone rage, desk rage, drug use, and homicide are said to be the results of a society that is dealing with too much stress.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MAJOR CAUSES OF STRESS?
Job stress is one of the major causes of stress. It causes absenteeism, employee turnover, diminished productivity, accidents, and increased medical, legal, and insurance cost. Job related stressors include: your boss, job security, subordinates, co-workers, safety issues, and other poor working conditions. Other stressors include lifestyle, internal struggles, financial problems, death of a love one, technology, health issues, responsibilities, children, loneliness, negative people, television, neighbors, and lawsuits. Current economic problems, which have caused many people to become unemployed, are also responsible for the behavior changes that cause people to do what is just not considered normal. Survival is a natural instinct and will cause people to take risk and worry about the future.
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO REDUCE AND MANAGE STRESS?
Drugs, medications, and alcohol are not always the best treatment. Even though this information about stress has been around for many years, people are still literally dying from stress related illnesses and conditions. Health must be a priority along with a plan to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Talk to your doctor about any health issues that may be causing additional stress. The list below provides some activities that can help decrease stress. It really is important to address any health issues that might be related to stress. Take the time to research the current information about stress. What you know can literally save your life. Material things can be replaced. Your health is your most important asset.
An effective stress plan should include the following:
Know what to do when experiencing stress
Learn to be content and laugh more and avoid negative people
Improve communications and use kind words when possible
Monitor your TV watching because some programs bring on stress
Try to do what is right
Learn from your mistakes
Get along with people and learn to forgive
Take time to relax, exercise, and monitor your diet
Complete important task and set priorities
Maintain an attitude of gratitude
Do not focus on problems, but instead on how to solve the problems
Make improving your health a priority