Speaking of STRESS….I got detoured on blogging by Hurricane Irma. It wiggled and wobbled all over the place as it headed northwest toward Florida. One minute it was going to go up the east side of the state; the next minute it was headed up the center of the state; then it was headed straight up the west side of the state….which is where I live. It turned out to be a waiting game as we watched our Weather News diligently. Who, and which part of the state, was targeted for the worst of the storm? Many prayers were being said…asking that the storm would diminish in size and wind speed. A storm coming at you at 185 miles an hour (Category 5) is nothing but pure devastation. God answered our prayers and Irma hit Florida at a lesser wind speed. By the time it reached north of Fort Myers it had become a Category 2 at 105 miles an hour. I am so thankful for prayers being answered. The damage was worse for some because of the flooding and homes that were not built to withstand such high winds. My family was blessed by God as we had very little if any destruction. I am thankful for my family as we all pulled together to face this ravaging storm, and were humbled by this experience. Taking it all in stride, the children were great little humans as they never panicked. We were safe because of the beforehand preparations made by all. We had food storage, water storage, a generator and great attitudes. I commend Florida’s State officials – to include the Governor, the Disaster Preparedness Director, the Weather broadcasters, the Local Officials, FPL, and everyone throughout the whole state involved with giving everyone directions as to what they should do and where they should go to weather the storm. People were expected to make decisions in accordance to their location, needs and what they thought they could handle. You either listened to the advice given by the state leaders and weather reporters and preparedness disaster folks, or you didn’t. The whole state of Florida was affected – not just one little section here or one little section there. And again, we have to Thank God for blessing us all and helping us to get through this devastating experience. I had family and friends not only here where I am, but in other parts of the state…they all had favorable reports for their situations. It is not fun to be without power and/or water. It was truly a pioneer experience. You learned to appreciate the new technology we have today. When millions of people are without power – fixing the problem is not a piece of cake. It takes days, and weeks to get the systems up and working again; the power in the process of being restored by the power company – FPL, little by little; as well the trash is being removed as fast as the public and private trash removal folks can get to it. Soon, the whole state will have electricity again and we will all be able to resume life at a normal pace.
Enough of Hurricane Irma. It wreaked havoc and Stress. But what about STRESS on a daily basis? Irma’s stress would be the result of a traumatic experience.
Stress is exasperating. I consider my Dad to have been a wise man. He was a dentist by profession and a farmer at heart. His talents included the arts, painting, music, cooking and even sewing. I remember some of his favorite sayings such as: “If you do things right the first time you won’t have to do them over again.” “Why make a mountain out of a mole hill?” And to me, on a regular basis, he was always saying “Ilse, why do you always insist on going to the ‘College of Hard Knocks?” I have come to conclude that he was trying to teach me LIFE is, or should be simple and can be lived without stress. It is man who makes life chaotic or STRESSFUL.
So – what is STRESS? The Webster Collegiate Dictionary tells us “Stress is a constraining force or influence” e.g. “a force exerted when one body or body part presses on, pulls on, pushes against, or tends to compress another body or body part; a state resulting from a stressful situation; mental tensions resulting from…strain, pressure, intense effort or exertion, sound (loudness). In other words to subject ones self to physical or psychological stress, etc.
Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary defines STRESS – in medicine, as the result produced when a structure, system or organism is acted upon by a stressor (an agent or condition capable of producing stress). It is generally believed that biological organisms require a certain amount of stress in order to maintain their well-being. However when Stress occurs in quantities that the system cannot handle – it produces pathological changes.
The concept of stress originally developed by Hans Selys, was to show cause rather than effect. Through linguistic error, however, he gave the term stress to effect and then later had to create the word ‘stressor’ for the cause.
If stress – generally speaking is the cause of many if not most of man’s issues, then what can be done to counteract the STRESSOR? Everyone individually, stresses out (so to speak) in their own way. What causes you to stress may be different from what causes someone else to stress.
CAUSE OF STRESS: physical or emotional change or environment that requires you to respond, e.g. minor issues, major lifestyle changes (definitely a cause of stress in the elderly population), family, work issues, anxiety, death, moving, mental or physical illness, divorce, traumatic events, fear. This is a short list of things that can cause stress.
EFFECTS OF STRESS: The question remains – is Stress the cause or the effect? My research shows it as both. As the effect – prolonged stress may develop into many things of which many can be health issues, e.g. chronic fatigue syndrome, hypothyroidism, problems with adrenal gland functioning if left untreated, heart issues, diabetes, mental problems etc.
COPING WITH STRESS: The first step to coping with stress is paying attention to the signs. These may include a daily headache, unexplained muscle pain, joint inflammation, irritability, decreased concentration, or insomnia, etc. These sound like things people face as being associated with a myriad of other diseases or health issues. So it stands to reason these issues, to include stress, are related to one another.
The question remaining is HOW DO YOU GET RID OF STRESS?
I like what the WebMD suggests: “To reduce stress, WebMD recommends engaging in activities that help the body to regain its center, such as practicing deep breathing techniques, sitting in meditation, relying on close family and friends for support and developing methods to improve appreciation for what is already present in life. Spending time being physical, finding something to laugh about and listening to uplifting music are, as well, ways to decrease stress.” (My favorite)
Exercise has been proven to alter the brain’s state of being by releasing pleasant chemicals into the bloodstream that calm the nerves. “WebMD suggests trying yoga, simple stretching, stair climbing or brisk walking as quick ways to make the body feel more at ease.”
WebMD also tells us that “Stress is often exacerbated by an habitual pattern of worrying and negative thinking.” To combat this, WebMD recommends maintaining a gratitude journal to keep track of the small cheerful things in life that might otherwise be overlooked. This helps to slowly change the mind’s focus from a pessimistic perspective to a positive outlook, eventually lessening the burden of stress that accumulates within the body. It is also helpful to sit in silence for a short period and gently turn the mind’s attention to the areas of the body that may be tense from carrying stress. Visualizing the release of this tension can help signal muscles and nerves to relax. (I have done this…and it works).
I have learned that stress compromises your nutrients (vitamins and minerals). Like all health issues, stress symptoms take a long time to generate. Good news, stress can also be reduced by using natural methods, such as natural herbal supplements, some teas and even foods. The most effective way of reducing stress naturally, then, is to use a combination of these remedies along with the physical and mental remedies suggested above.
I like the herbs. In the FYI store we have an Herbal Formula for the Nerves that helps relieve stress and anxiety. We also carry a Heal All Tea that helps to rid one of headaches, inflammatory conditions, and etc. It is well-known that Chamomile and green tea are two of the most commonly known herbs that help people who are stressed. Passion flower and kava teas are also said to be effective in treating anxiety and other negative feelings. I have used these teas and they do work. The herbal supplements we carry to reduce the pressure of stress are available in capsule or liquid extract form.
As mentioned before, exercise (yoga, breathing and stretching practices) can be very beneficial in treating stress because it releases the neurotransmitters called endorphins, which cause a person to experience positive emotions. These activities, along with meditation can cause changes in brain chemistry that allow a person to feel relaxed and at peace. And last, but not least, faith in God and personal prayer greatly releases stress from ones life. I heard many testimonies at church about this very method. The calm and peace of mind was felt by many who had been traumatized by Hurricane Irma.
Now we are watching Hurricane Marie and Lee – which seem to be following Irma’s path, but as of last night should turn north before they get to Florida.
More STRESS – I pray not! Let us all work on becoming STRESS FREE!