The lamentations are plentiful in today’s health briefs: stress can age you faster, stress can impact your immune system, and stress can impact the quality of your life.
Headaches, abdominal pain, infections, sleepless and restless nights, worry, depression and anxiety…and many more ailments like these–can be induced or exacerbated by uncontrolled stress in your life.
To control stress and live your life to the fullest, there are certain principles you must come to terms with.
They are as follows:
1) You cannot, and will not be able to, please everybody no what matter what you say, do and/or think.
Even then, you cannot please some people all the time anyway. So, why even try? You are not the anointed savior to any one! You are certainly not God! So, stop trying to please everybody. Instead of being a “people pleaser,” you can try to be kind and considerate towards others. Being kind and considerate towards others can create good relationships, improve the quality of your life, and make you feel better.
2) You must identify the stress triggers in your life, and learn to cope with, or–better still–overcome them. We all have stress in our lives! We all have problems and crises (of various proportions) to deal with…involving bills, family conflict, relationships, finances, work, etc. Dealing with stress is part of living here on earth. You should identify what your specific triggers to stress are, then avoid pulling or activating them. In return, you should replace those identified triggers with activities that build and edify you. Maybe, you could go take a nature walk, or drive to the beach, walk on the sandy shore and listen to the sea gulls chatter. Or, maybe you could take some paper and draw an evening landscape. Or, maybe you could pray and meditate.
3) You cannot afford to toss in bed, go sleepless with worry and not eat food. You also cannot take on drinking alcohol and abusing drugs to make you “feel better” either. Worrying about anything solves nothing. It only throws you into greater mental anguish. Skipping meals, or even participating in over-indulgence with food and drink, does nothing but mask the real issues eating inside you. If you are constantly depressed, you must seek help. Underlying depression/anxiety is not made any better with concomitant stress. If anything, stress makes you go deeper in your cocoon of depression. Drinking alcohol and abusing drugs are toxic remedies to your mind and body! Alcohol and substance abuse does not cure stress. Substance abuse can make underlying depression worse. Look at the celebrities who commit suicide…they have tried the alcohol and substance path and have fallen flat on their faces. Learn from those mistakes. Seek professional help, see your pastor and find healthy avenues to de-stress, e.g. walking, exercising, etc.
4) You cannot postpone the inevitable. Are you holding onto a job that you hate because you put off going to school and can’t seem to find anything better? Are you in a toxic relationship that is figuratively strangling you? Are you being taken advantage of? Well, you have to ACT!! “A” is for Action plan. You must develop an Action plan. A failure to plan is tantamount to a plan to fail. “C” is for commitment. You must commit to doing what is needed to get you to the specific goal(s) contained in your Action plan. If you have to go to school to meet your goals in your action plan, then do it…and don’t look back. “T” is for turn the page and move on. When you do that, don’t harbor regrets. The past is money spent. It is gone. Today is cash in hand. Spend it wisely.
5) You cannot feel sorry for yourself. If you think you “have it bad,” go visit the local hospital. One place you should visit is the children’s cancer ward: watch those children, who have lived a few years in life and have been on IV medications almost all their lives, run around, laugh and play. Oh, you think you have it going badly for you? Now, go to the Veterans Hospital and see the amputees relearn to walk, or the brave men and women (who served) deal with traumatic brain injury. If you think your problem is large, well, I have news for you: someone else has an even larger problem. Feeling sorry for yourself won’t help you. It will only give you a poorly attended self-pity party. You have to get up and do something about your situation. Maybe, you could get a pet, volunteer at the local soup kitchen, or even be a big brother or sister to a child without a sibling. Giving of yourself will reap rewards of making you feel connected and involved in something else other than you-something larger than just you.
Life is too short. Learn to deal with stress and live your life well.