Move to reduce stress levels


When you read this column, I will have finished my first half marathon.

But it's very predictable for me to write about the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon this weekend.

So, I'm going to write about the other "big deal" of my life right now – stress.

In addition to facing the marathon, I'm also going to the US for the annual Paleo f (x) conference and to complete my certification as a Primal Play Movement trainer.

So saying that I'm feeling stressed is a bit understated.

April is Stress Awareness Month, so I was inundated with information about what causes stress and how to best deal with it.

Although the Oxford Dictionary defines it simply as "a state of mental or emotional tension," other features point out that instead of being a diagnosis, stress is a process that causes discomfort or distress and can lead to mental problems such as anxiety and depression . as well as physical illness such as cardiovascular disease.

Stress is subjective, with some people being able to deal with the same set of stressors more competently than others.

The key is not to judge your ability, or that of another person, to deal with these causes of stress.

For example, someone who is accustomed to traveling alone often can find my anxiety about my irrational journey. Then there are people whose stress is caused by situations that many of us would never imagine living.

One example is people living in communities devastated by violence or those living in extreme poverty.

Children are particularly at risk because they often do not recognize what they are going through.

I read about an organization that attends schools to teach mindfulness and yoga to students in communities where they are exposed to violence, drugs and gangsterism.

Since September last year, more than 900 students and 160 teachers have participated in the Mindful Living program introduced by the Western Cape Department of Education as part of its Trauma Informed Schools Initiative.

Although stress is critical to our survival, much of it – and for extended periods of time – can damage our immune system and our emotional well-being.

It is essential to learn to identify your stressors and equip yourself with techniques to avoid or deal with stress.

Any specialist will recommend the exercise. Even if you feel that your stress is bad enough for you to consult with a counselor, it is likely that the mental health specialist will also recommend outdoor activities.

The reason why exercise is effective is that it helps to lower the stress hormones and releases endorphins, the wellness hormones.

Exercise can also improve your sleep quality and increase your confidence. Other simple techniques for dealing with stress:

– List your anxieties or list the things for which you are grateful. Spend time with friends who make you happy.

Find something to laugh about. ¡Start to deal with your to-do list. Do yoga and / or breathing exercises or meditate.

– Play with your pet.

– Hug someone – Positive physical contact helps lower your stress hormone levels.


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