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December 18th, 2013

Stress and the Holidays

November was National Stress Awareness Month and Americans are still feeling ‘sick’. What’s keeping you up at night?  Chances are it’s some form of stress which shows itself via insomnia, anxiety, muscle pain, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system.

But many are living a lifestyle where they never get off the hamster wheel.  The heightened stress level starts to feel almost normal.  The adrenaline blow which is nature’s alarm system warning us to fight or flee starts to function erratically.

The Mayo clinic says “when stressors are always present and you constantly feel under attack, that fight-or-flight reaction stays turned on.”  They add, “The long-term activation of the stress-response system — and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones — can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This puts you at increased risk of numerous health problems, including:  anxiety, depression, heart disease, obesity, memory and concentration impairment, and digestive problems.”

Kelly Walsh, 20 year human resource veteran, president of 1SmartLife and author of the Teeter Totter Conundrum, says now is the time to manage stress before the holiday craze.

People can learn to manage stress and lead happier, healthier lives. Here are some tips to help you keep stress at bay:

•Keep a positive attitude.
•Accept that there are events that you cannot control.
•Be assertive instead of aggressive. Assert your feelings, opinions, or beliefs instead of becoming angry, defensive, or passive.
•Learn and practice relaxation techniques; try meditation, yoga, or tai-chi.
•Exercise regularly. Your body can fight stress better when it is fit.
•Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.

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