The importance of stress management is common information, but did you know that stress actually impacts your overall health and longevity? Stress is a substantial risk factor for heart disease. Similar to smoking, it accelerates the atherosclerotic process. Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque builds up inside your arteries, and over time this plaque hardens and narrows your arterial walls.
Stress is a normal part of life. It is completely normal to worry, to feel anxious or to get overwhelmed. However, when stress becomes part of your daily life, it can be a potential health problem. Therefore, it is important to have strategies to help manage it.
Relaxation, just like exercise, should be an important component of our life and can help lessen the risk of future disease. Aside from prevention, incorporating relaxation can help us feel happier, be better contributors to society, and make us better parents. Through appropriately handling stress, we can better achieve physical and mental well-being and focus on our good human qualities such as generosity, helpfulness, compassion and gratitude. In this we can achieve humbleness by valuing life and acknowledging the bigger picture.
Life is about learning, we should always aim to acquire new information and achieve understanding. It is important to remind ourselves that we can learn ways to relax and handle stress so we can be better people. The more balanced and relaxed, the better role models we can be and the more openly we can love and support our children. Research shows that children grow to be happier and more successful adults when they have a sense of unconditional love and acceptance during their youth.
For myself, I like to find time to be productive outdoors, ideally in the sunshine, to help keep a clear mind. In hectic day to day life, in my quest to simplify, I find maintaining a detailed to-do list helps me organize my day and supports my goal orientated nature. Keeping my life organized allows me to put many things out of my head so I can best enjoy “here and now” time which works to maintain my gratitude for life.
Stress management depends on the individual, so it’s important to find one or more outlets that work for you. Some common activities may include, but not be limited to:
- Physical activity such as sports, hiking, going to the gym, running, yoga or taking leisurely walks.
- Meditation and/ or prayer.
- Spending time grounding yourself in nature.
- Being creative in art, writing, cooking, making music and/or any means of self-expression or creativity.
- Taking a break from work, emails and/or limiting social media.
- Spending time with loved ones and/ or cuddling with pets.
- Cleaning, organizing and minimizing clutter.
- Practices of mindfulness such as daily reflection, keeping a journal, writing a gratitude journal, writing goals and/ or doing good deeds for others.
- Taking care of yourself by getting enough rest, eating good food and participating in healthful behaviors.
Since stress management is very individual, teach your children to understand ways that they can manage their own stress. It’s important to teach your children to think for themselves and also to learn about themselves and what makes them unique. Teach your kids how to work through anger, feelings of uneasiness and ways to manage their stress levels. Be sure to carve out daily time for fun and relaxing activities. Managing stress in adulthood will be easier if they learn helpful strategies during youth.