The effects of long term stress are not to be taken lightly. Although they cannot always be seen, the effects of stress can lead to serious physical, as well as mental health problems. Managing our stress levels is very important if we wish to remain happy and healthy. Unfortunately this is seldom recognised in our bustling modern societies, managing our stress levels is often ignored until they cause problems.

Symptoms of stress include irritability, muscular tension, the inability to concentrate and a wide variety of physical reactions, such as headaches and increased blood pressure and heart rate. Long term stress can also lower our immune systems, which consequently increases our chanced of picking up illnesses and diseases. Many experts also believe that stress can lead to increased risks of cancer and heart diseases.

A person suffering from stress typically uses the more emotional parts of their brain, shutting down the more logical side. This has the effect of lowering intelligence, and effecting judgement. People often make ‘rash decisions’ that they later regret, and sometimes wonder why they made them in the first place. Stress can seriously affect our performance at work, and our personal relationships.

We all have an Ultradian Rhythm, which is a 90-120 minute cycle of stress and relaxation. The relaxation dips are usually around 90 minutes apart. This is when your mind and body is telling you to slow down and relax. Typically you may find yourself daydreaming, which is a natural form of meditation and self hypnosis. Some people instead choose to carry out addictive behaviour, such as drinking, drugs, and smoking.

This is not healthy because aside from the physical harm such addictions present, there are also psychological problems that can manifest. A person cannot learn how to naturally deal with stress if they always turn to their addictions for a release. They do not adequately learn how to cope with the knocks that life inevitably presents. Instead they grow increasingly dependant on their addictions as a means of coping, which often creates many other problems in the long run, further perpetuating their addictions.

There are a number of ways that can help you manage your stress levels. Relaxation techniques taught in disciplines such as yoga and meditation are very effective. They give you valuable ‘time out’ to slow down and just ‘be’ for a while. Remember we are human ‘beings’ and not human ‘doings’. If a person does not wish to become involved in these disciplines, then they can at least learn simple breathing exercises, such as taking long slow breaths in through the nose, and out through the mouth. Doing this slowly whilst counting the breaths until 50 or 100 is an excellent quick relaxation tool that you can do practically anywhere.

You can also imagine floating off out of your body to a haven of relaxation. This can be somewhere unique to you. Somewhere that YOU associate with relaxation. It can be a real place that you have been to in the past, or an imagined paradise. It could for example be a tropical beach, an enchanted forest, or even a party with friends. Just site back, close your eyes, relax, and enjoy for as long as you wish.

People often become stressed due to excessive demands of life. Learning time management skills, as well as learning how to say ‘no’, can really benefit these people.

Take a long look at yourself and ask if you are excessively stressed. If you are then take action now. Whilst you are living in this state you are wasting your life away. We are meant to be happy and healthy. You cannot get this time back, so you must act now. Look at areas in life where you can make small, but important changes. It might be reducing overtime at work, taking adequate breaks throughout the day, avoiding certain people or situations, or even getting a new hobby. See the importance in your own stress management, and take action. Your long term happiness and health depend on it.

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