Are You Overstressed?
Have you been feeling extremely tired lately? Are your muscles
sore and are you lacking energy for the activities you love?
Do you or your mate seem moody, crying for no reason and unmotivated?
While we commonly complain of stress headaches, sore backs
and a lack of sleep these can all be signs of overstress and
can interfere with our quality of life and enjoyment. What
can you do if you or a family member is overstressed?
WHAT MAKES YOU OVERSTRESSED?
The key to understanding overstress is not merely a list of
sources of stress; it is how we are personally coping with
What would seem to be manageable stress to one person may
be overstress to another. Some researchers suggest that our
ability to handle life's stresses may have as much to do with
our inherited tolerance as with our lifestyle. What is crucial
though is identifying the symptoms of overstress and learning
to adapt our lifestyle to reduce stress.
While we may all have different tolerances for stress it is
also true that certain lifestyles or changes in lifestyle
can lead to overstress - marriage, divorce, death of a loved
one, job change, job loss or debts are all major stresses.
Other factors such as allergies, shift work, strained relationships
and too much work are also stresses that in combination can
add up to overstress.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I'M OVERSTRESSED?
While scientifically overstress leads to a series of chemical
imbalances in our system, it is most easily recognized by
the symptoms of these imbalances: fatigue due to lack of restful
sleep, sore muscles due to a lower pain tolerance and a negative
mood due to a lack of energy and 'feel good' chemicals in
If you don't think that you've been feeling the physical effects
of overstress perhaps you should look at your lifestyle. Are
you handling fatigue with caffeine and sugar? Are alcohol
or drugs helping you sleep or providing you a 'feel good'
high? Are you relying on the adrenaline of working too much
for the positive energy your body and mind needs?
HOW DO I HANDLE OVERSTRESS?
The first step in handling overstress is to recognize your
tolerance. Since everyone has a different level only you can
start reading your body's signals and responding to them.
Lessening your burdens by simplifying your life may just mean
saying no to some extracurricular activities or may mean a
complete change in occupation or lifestyle. If you are anticipating
a large change in your life such as a new baby or moving to
a new home, perhaps you need to remove other obligations to
make room for these changes.
Exercising at least 20 minutes three times per week and reducing
or eliminating crutches such as alcohol, caffeine, sugar or
drugs will also help the body find balance.
We are living in a world that encourages highly driven, 'type-A'
personalities. For the good or bad we are not all made equal
and to lead the most contented life it is important to set
limits for ourselves based on our personal abilities. Having
a low tolerance for stress is no more a fault than needing
glasses or being shorter than average - it does however require
us to accommodate our tolerance and take on only as much as
our bodies can adequately handle.
Learning our stress tolerance and responding accordingly can
change our entire outlook on life. By regularly taking stock
of your stress level and making the necessary changes you
will find yourself enjoying life more than you thought possible.
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of my-personal-growth.com,
a site that provides information and articles for self improvement
and personal growth and development.
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