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Stress - Can You Handle It?

Stress is a hard fact of life. Trying to meet deadlines, taking abuse, feeling trapped, hurrying, trying too hard to meet unrealistic expectations, and pressures to perform can stress us out.

Trying to meet deadlines, taking abuse, feeling trapped, hurrying, trying too hard to meet unrealistic expectations, and pressures to perform can stress us out. We cannot control events and how everything turns out. Feeling out of control is the big problem, and it makes us insecure and afraid. Our adrenal glands dump adrenaline and our hearts beat faster, and we kick into "fight-or-flight" mode. We can run or stand and fight, but we are geared up for intense action. The nerves that control this are called the "sympathetic" nervous system, but a better name would be "merciless". If the voltage in these circuits is too high for too long, we can burn out.

The biggest single therapy for stress is exercise. If you are going to be pumped up ready for action, you may as well put it into action.

Also very important is reasserting control over your time. Creating a little time for the things you like is not always easy, or appreciated by employers or dependents. We all need a little space to think, to relax, to pursue the things that express us to the world.

Music, art, or any pasttime we choose, can help us deal with doing what others need us to do.

Counselling can be very useful to develop a low stress philosophy of life - to accept with serenity the things you cannot change, and the wisdom to change what you can.

The B-vitamin complex is a very good supplement in times of stress. A little more than the diet provides can drive nerves to perform better under the weight of the world.

There is a group of herbs known as "adaptogens" which help the body deal with stress. The best known is ginseng. The kind grown in our area is very good. My favorite is Siberian ginseng, which is not really a ginseng plant, but was used in Northern China and up into Siberia for the same things. It is very safe for long-term use.

Please remember that alcohol and drugs do not help to ease stress, they just delay having to face the problem, and often increase the problems.

If you are handling your stress well, you will accept that you are only an imperfect human being, that you are not indespensible, and that you cannot always be in control - and actually like it that way!