It is impossible to avoid challenges and adversities in life. Whether it be a health crisis, job loss, death of a loved one, break up or other difficulty, we all must face and confront losses. By using the following guide, difficulties can be faced with greater ease. Stress is associated with several diseases, so reducing stress is important to health.
Stress and disease
Chronic stress creates inflammation and increases pro-inflammatory cytokines. Elevated cytokine levels are linked to autoimmune disorders, mental illness, chronic fatigue, insomnia, fibromyalgia and dementia. Chronic stress has been shown to cause or exacerbate heart attack risk, atherosclerosis, asthma, cancer, hypertension, diabetes and irritable bowel syndrome. A Texas A&M University study connected stress with immune dysfunction.
5 Ways to minimize stress
1. Maintain hope
When things are rough, it is easy to get lost in feelings of hopelessness and depression. It is important to remember that this is one point in time and that there is hope for a better future. It is even possible to come out stronger on the other end. By believing that one will recover from their loss, find another job, discover healing to illness or find another companion, one’s outlook can greatly improve. Maintaining hope in the face of adversity is essential.
2. Carefully choose your “support team”
Friends and family vary in their capacity to provide support at critical times in one’s life. It is important to carefully choose your “support team.” Only share problems with those who have a positive, empathetic nature and who can provide encouragement and guidance. It is NOT necessary to share personal challenges with everyone. In fact, it can be beneficial to not discuss or think about problems at different times in order to provide a needed escape from stressors.
3. Practice a positive attitude
Cognitive behavioral therapy has a strong track record for improving mental health. It is essential to give yourself positive messages during times of stress. Reward yourself with positive self-talk for all of your efforts to overcome difficulties and learn to be your own best cheerleader.
4. Increase self-care
It is especially important during difficult times to increase self-care. Eating nutrient-dense foods, while also taking nutritional supplements and vitamins, is critical during stressful times. Stress depletes one’s vitamin stores, so extra nutrients are essential. Increasing or adding therapeutic doses of omega-3 supplements, B vitamins and supplements like 5-HTP can be useful. Studies show that daily intake of 1,000-2,000 mg of omega-3 in EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) form reduces depression and anxiety symptoms.
Ensuring that one gets exercise and obtains adequate sleep is also important. Stress can be exhausting, so extra sleep and rest may be needed. Exercise increases the feel-good chemical serotonin, so it is essential to find time to exercise, even for five minutes, during times of crisis.
Give yourself permission to grieve your loss. Crying is the body’s natural way to release feelings of sadness. It is cleansing and therapeutic to cry. If crying becomes disruptive to daily functioning, scheduling crying at convenient times can be helpful.
5. Take action
When confronted with problems, taking action is therapeutic. If one is ill, it can be helpful to look for a healthcare provider who can offer hope for healing. If dealing with the loss of a loved one, allowing time for grieving is an important and active step. Grief has no time limits, but the intensity of feelings do generally lessen in time.
Assertive action is empowering. Saying “no” to unreasonable demands and expressing needs in a constructive manner help move us all closer toward meeting our goals.
Sources for this article include:
Written by Michelle Goldstein, Holistic Health to Go
Keys to facing and overcoming adversity was first published in Natural News on June 13, 2014.