4/18/2013

STRESS: HOW FIT ARE YOU MENTALLY?


have heard too many reports on people dying below forty years of age, although this is inevitably the end of man, it still hurts, as some causes of deaths are due to ignorance. Hosea 4:6 says my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Stress is a major killer of man, it leads to premature death. In our pursuit to make a living, many of us spend long hours commuting to and from work, long hours sitting at work, to list a few, and very little time to relax. 

Stress has been identified as one of the major causes of heart problems like high blood pressure which often leads to a stroke, studies have shown that stress worsens asthma, stress is identified as one of the lead causes of headaches, including migraines, stress accelerates your aging process, hair loss and very recently, I heard stress could be a cause of miscarriages and delay in conceiving.
Despite all of these, people do not pay attention to their mental fitness, or some would say they are too busy for it. I always tell people, if you died today, your boss would easily find a replacement. The world would continue without you, so take a chill pill and pay more attention to your mental health. I can personally testify that whenever my stress level is high and I go to the opticians, my test results are usually worse than when I’m well rested. 

Considering the world in its current state, stress may be unavoidable, particularly if you live in Nigeria, however it can be controlled. 

Fitness goes beyond the physical. For me I would say fitness includes your physical, mental and spiritual fitness. All three must function well for a well-balanced life. 

Studies have shown that normal level of stress is good as it helps stimulate your brain and encourage creative thinking, however too much stress can cause problems as identified above. 

Some causes of mental stress: 
  • Family problems like divorce, loneliness, abuse, etc 
  • Financial problems. I always say a broke man is an angry man. 
  • Environmental problems: for example toxic fumes from cars and generators, chronic noise from car honks, etc. 
  • Unfulfilled expectations: I saw this in an article I read and I completely agree. Disappointment with one’s current status can lead to depression and anxiety. 
How can you tell you are stressed? 

Some symptoms of stress have been identified to include: Memory problems, Inability to concentrate, Poor judgment, Constant worrying, Moodiness, Irritability or short temper, inability to relax, Feeling overwhelmed, Sense of loneliness and isolation, Depression or general unhappiness, Aches and pains, Diarrhea or constipation, Nausea, dizziness, Chest pain, rapid heartbeat, Loss of sex drive, Frequent colds, insomnia, alcoholism, and overeating/loss of appetite. 

It is important to bear in mind that the above symptoms could be caused by other psychological and medical problems, so always consult your doctor. 

How can I relieve stress?
  • Avoid controllable stress factors like: driving during rush hour, prioritizing and focusing on one task at a time, and planning for events, etc. 
  • Learn to relax: You could participate in relaxation exercises like yoga. 
  • Balance work with leisure 
  • Get enough sleep 
  • Exercising regularly: Regular exercise can increase self-confidence and lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise also can improve your sleep. 
  • Know your limits and learn to say no. This is very important especially in the work place where one may tend to overburden themselves in order to score points for a promotion. 
  • Don’t try to control the uncontrollable. You should accept that not everything must go your way or as planned. Be adaptable.
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