03 July 2009

HOW CAN STRESS AFFECT OUR HEALTH

Prolonged stress exposes our body constantly to the effects of adrenaline and will lead to many health problems:

* Decreased immunity levels, thereby increasing our chances of getting colds and other illnesses.
* Worsening of asthmatic conditions
* Increased blood pressure that will increase the risk for stroke and heart attacks and even kidney problems.
* Digestive problems like indigestion, constipation or even diarrhoea.
* Depression, nervous breakdown or mental illness.

WHAT WE CAN DO TO MANAGE STRESS

Some people have a negative way of coping. They take drugs, consume excessive alcohol, smoke, binge on food and injure themselves. These only mask the stress they feel, harm their health and even cause emotional and financial burden to their family.

We would not be able to get rid of stress altogether, but we can manage it at a level that we can handle.

The stress busters, in the following pages, tell you some positive ways to cope with stress.


Stress Busters!

1. Plan Your Time Well

Keep a daily planner. Give priority to the most important activities and do them first. Break large demands into small, manageable parts. Work through one task at a time. Decide how much time you need for each job. Be careful not to over organise. Leave some room for flexibility and spontaneity.

Planning ahead helps you to complete the tasks you have prioritised. This allows you to have a sense of achievement for the tasks you have completed.

2. Be realistic about what you can do

Choose your work according to your own abilities and interests. Focus on what you can do and not for the impossible. Set goals that are achievable so you don't become frustrated or discouraged.

3. Spread out the major changes in your life


Give your self time to adjust from one change to another. For example, avoid changing jobs, buying a car or a flat all the same time.

4. Speak to someone about your problems


Seeking help is not a sign of weakness. Sharing your worries and concerns with your spouse, family, friend, supervisor or religious leader helps relieve your emotional burden and provides with you with emotional support.
Try joining relevant support groups in your community. Call a helpline if you need to speak to a counsellor

5. Interact with your family and friends



Family and friends are a key component of your life. They provide you with friendship love and support in times of need. Set aside some time each day to talk and relax together.

6. Learn to like yourself and think positive

Be happy with who you are. Keep a positive attitude and outlook in life. This help you to accept what you cannot change and make the best of what you have.
Don't be overly concerned about your looks. If you are concerned about your weight, speak to your doctor or a nutritionist, who would be able to assess your weight status and give advice on weight management, if necessary.

7. Keep healthy

Keep your body healthy and fit by exercising regularly, eating wisely and getting enough sleep. Engaging in regular physical activity releases endorphins which give you a natural "high". Eating a healthy and balanced diet based on the Healthy Diet Pyramid will provide the recommended level of nutrients needed to boost the immune system.

8. Make some time for yourself

Do something that you really enjoy. take up a hobby like dancing, painting or a sport. Take a short break when you feel tense or tired. Get up and stretch, or take a short walk. When you return to your work, you can concentrate better.

9. Learn some relaxation techniques


Deep breathing exercises, meditation, massage, and muscle relaxation techniques help to relieve stress.




Hopefully useful,
Source: Health Promotion Board - Singapore

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