Dying To Live: What Is Stress Costing You?
Stress: Pressure, strain or force that tends to distort a body; a factor that induces bodily or mental tension
- Are you one of the millions of people being negatively affected by stress?
- Do you know how much your stress level is costing you in terms of your physical, mental and emotional wellness?
- Do you know what is stressing you and why? If not, why not?
- Do you know what to do about it?
We know that stress levels have increased because of the recent global lockdown. However, stress levels were already reaching epidemic levels, even before this COVID-19 crisis, and little has being done about it. But the good news is that you don’t have to wait for someone else to determine your stress levels; you can do that on your own. Further, you can immediately take action steps (if needed) to better manage the stress in your life. Before I go into detail about what you can do to reduce your stress, here is some current research on the topic.
- In a UK study, 1 out of 5 people felt their jobs were extremely stressful, to the point of illness.
- The UK also documented that self-reported, work-related stress accounted for over 13 million lost working days in the past 12 months.
- In a Boston University study, women who avoided conflict with their spouse had four times as much chance of heart disease and early death. Their avoidance actually increased their stress.
- In the American Journal of Physiology’s Heart and Circulatory Physiology study, it was confirmed that prolonged exposure to certain stressors can result in permanent change to the body’s sympathetic nervous system, including blood pressure and heart rate. Those factors have been confirmed to include social stressors like bullying, job- and family-related pressure and other related elements.
- A Florida State University study linked increased depression and anxiety disorders to long-term stress factors.
- A Health Psychology investigation confirmed the link between stress and a reduced immune system.
- A European Union (EU) research project confirmed that work-related stress was negatively affecting 1 out of 3 workers in the EU.
- In a study released this week it was cited that over 50% of individuals who succumb to COVID-19 had low Vitamin D levels.
The negative effects of stress are not limited to adults. Stress is also affecting children.
So with all this stress in people’s lives, I want to encourage you to not be stressed about your stress. Why? Because your level of stress is mostly in your control.
But first, how does stress manifest itself? What are some areas on which you can reflect, in terms of stress factors?
Influenced by the elements present in people’s lives, stress levels are far more complex than being just work- or home-related. Stress manifests itself in many physical, psychological and behavioral symptoms, which can include headaches, fatigue, feelings of being out of control and insomnia.
With CRG’s Stress Indicator and Health Planner (SIHP), individuals can identify their stress levels from a holistic perspective. (The assessment, now in its fifth version, was fully updated for 2020 using the latest research.)
To reduce your stress levels, it is important that you uncover all your potential sources. Here are four categories included in the SIHP:
- Interpersonal Stress Levels
All your relationships in your life—work, family and friends—are either increasing or decreasing your stress levels. Understanding your interpersonal boundaries and preferences can highly influence your stress levels in this category.
- Nutritional Stress Levels
Your nutritional habits are strongly influencing your overall stress levels. The old saying, “you are what you eat,” has never been truer. Today, many unhealthy food choices, environmental toxins are helping to create overweight individuals and even morbid obesity.
- Health and Activity Stress Levels
What you do and don’t do are also highly influencing your stress levels. Over 70% of the population is overweight, and the World Health Organization confirmed that nearly 95% of illness is lifestyle-related. You are what you eat and what you do. Regular exercise reduces stress and increases your immune system through the production of endorphins.
- Time and Occupational Stress Levels
Is it just me, or have people lost the time margins in their lives? With families, full-time professions and extracurriculars, they no longer have that “wiggle room,” so when things happen—and they will—they have increased stress related to lack of time margins. Even children are becoming more stressed due to overpacked schedules and demands.
Much research has been linked to job-related stress, as well. It’s important to also acknowledge the growing percentage of the population that is now self-employed. Whether you are employed or self-employed, if you don’t enjoy what you do, you will have increased stress.
Money—or lack of it—is cited as one of the most common stressors in both employed and self-employed individuals. In addition, environmental conditions—such as the pollution of the air, land and water—can impact your overall stress level.
Your stress, no matter the source, will increase if you feel you have no options or no hope of improving your life.
Remember: You can influence the majority of the contributing elements in all the above stress categories.
The Action Steps below offer some strategies for your consideration. At CRG, we suggest, however, that you don’t pursue trying to reduce your stress until you have the answers to the following two questions. Why? The answers are required to ensure your stress-reduction success.
- Why is it important for you to reduce your stress and improve your overall wellness?
- If you are successful in reducing your stress, what will be some key benefits to you? In other words, why should you bother to change your habits?
Finally, I encourage you to complete the Stress Indicator and Health Planner. Your responses to its 120 questions will:
· help you establish a benchmark of your current stress levels; and
· provide you with immediate strategies to help reduce your stress levels.
What Is Stress Costing You?
- Consider what stress is costing you.
- Think about what is stressing you in your life in the four areas of 1) Interpersonal; 2) Nutritional; 3) Health and Activity; and 4) Time and Occupational stress. Make a list of all the potential items.
- Benchmark your stress levels by completing CRG’s Stress Indicator and Health Planner (SIHP). Consider taking the SIHP every 12 months to track your progress.
- Lighten up! Individuals who are always serious generally have more stress in their lives.
- Introduce more humor into your life. When participants in a study watched a 15-minute humorous video, their stress level reduced.
- In research studies, the immune systems of optimistic individuals were stronger than those of pessimistic individuals. For certain individuals, an attitude adjustment might require a new way of thinking. Use CRG’s Personal Style Indicator to help with this process.
- Remember, you control most of the factors that contribute to your stress levels and your overall wellness. It is your responsibility—not the fault of your condition or situation!
- Don’t stress yourself over your stress levels. Simply allow yourself to move at your own pace, as long as it is in the direction of improvement.
- Encourage others to take responsibility to reduce their stress levels because, in many cases, their stress will be adding to yours.
- Make sure you have clearly outlined the benefits of reducing your stress levels. With good reasons and goals, it will be easier to stay on track.
Coming soon new Wellness eCourse!
Dying To Live: Breakthrough Stress Reduction & Wellness Strategies
A full online learning experience and ecourse will be launched soon based on the Stress Indicator & Health Planner. This is based on our half day live workshop converted to the online format just for you.
If you would like to pre-order this ecourse for a 50% discount click this link here!!!
Until next time, keep Living On Purpose!