As we age, our stressors change and so does our ability to deal with stress. Long-term stress can damage brain cells and lead to depression. Stress may also cause memory loss, fatigue, and decreased ability to fight off and recover from infection. In fact, it is estimated that more than 90% of illness is either caused or complicated by stress.
Let’s face it, we cannot avoid stressful situations entirely. Stress is a daily part of our lives. But why? What causes the stress we experience? Answer that question and you will be taking the first steps needed to control it. Stress and/or anxiety often seem to be affiliated with those things or people in our lives that we try to control and yet have no control over. Being stressed or anxious about life’s problems does not offer a remedy to them but only causes more trouble in our body, mind, and spirit.
So, what do we do? It all comes back to control! Decide to be in control of the one thing in life that you actually CAN control – your attitude, your decisions, and your actions. Decide not to worry about tomorrow and spend that energy and concentration focusing on what you and only you can accomplish today. Do your part to love, share, believe, and live today. The stress in life will certainly not go away but it will also not be in control of you.
Of course, we CAN learn better techniques to cope with stress. Take care of yourself when you are stressed by getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating nutritious foods. Talk to a loved one or counselor about your stress. You might even try some relaxation techniques – there are many to choose from.
Here are some easy ways to relieve the stress in your life:
Think positive thoughts!
Spend at least thirty minutes each day doing something you like such as reading a good book, visiting a friend, or listening to a preferred genre of music.
When possible, avoid difficult people or situations - and when it’s impossible to avoid them it never hurts to say a prayer.
There's a definitive connection between living well and having a joyful outlook on life. Remember the old saying, “As a man thinks in his heart – so he is.” Sure, there are a lot of things in life that can inhibit or even take our joy. That’s why we as human beings have been given the capacity to be compassionate, to dream, to hope, to love, to overcome. A joyful outlook on life will always focus on these gifts.
When we're told, "Don't worry about tomorrow," that is another way of saying, don't worry about what you can't control. Always keep things in perspective and try to accept, even adapt, to the things you cannot control...instead of letting those things control YOU.