The stress/body connection is like a tea kettle. The kettle sits quietly on the stove until the heat is turned up. As the temperature rises, pressure builds inside the kettle, causing it to whistle. The human body may not have a whistle, but it still tells us when the pressure is too high.
For some, stress manifests itself as indigestion, diarrhea, headaches, insomnia, fatigue or even a diminished sex drive. For others, stress expresses itself in irritability or anger. An inability to concentrate, lack of focus, crying spells, loss of interest in hobbies - all of these could also represent chronic stress.
If you would describe your life as chronically hectic, don't assume you're immune to the effects of stress. Stress can stealthily steal your health. For example, a person under stress may not realize that their blood pressure is elevated, but it is dangerous nonetheless.
Here are some lifestyle changes that may help you manage your stress:
Exercise: Exercise not only benefits you physically and emotionally, but also instills a sense of discipline.
Controlling spending: See how much you can save in a day, week or month can help with your stress management.
Putting people first: By providing your time to a local charity or visiting a friend you haven't seen in a while, you can help yourself as well.
Eat nutritiously: Minimize foods high in calories, fat and sodium.
Simplifying and organizing your life: Plan your a yard sale to de-clutter and pick up extra cash. What you don't sell you can actually give to charity.
Managing stress isn't about expecting a fairy-tale life. It's about learning to enjoy what you have. Do your best to address the areas that you can. If you find your health is suffering despite your best efforts, see your doctor. For the Texas Tech Univeristy Health Sciences Center, I'm Dr. Tedd Mitchell.