Antidepressants, tranquilizers, sleeping aids and related drugs are among the most routinely prescribed medicines in this country, and the problem is frequently linked to stress. Although these drugs are extremely effective, mild stress can sometimes be managed without medication.
Physical or psychological stress is a response to strains or pressure on the body that can lead to illness. A few examples of stress-related disorders are certain kinds of headaches, back or facial pain, asthma, stomach ulcers, and hypertension. Researchers have found that stress can decrease the ability of the immune system to fight off disease and may contribute to the risk of heart-related diseases and even some cancers.
Emotional stress, which may occur from actual or anticipated difficulties in life, can cause feelings of apprehension—being uptight or jittery, and is then known as tension or anxiety. Certain diseases and medications such as cold remedies as well as some prescription drugs like thyroid supplements can also cause anxiety. Moreover, caffeine and other stimulants are causative, as is alcohol.
However, stress is not always bad—we need a certain amount to perform at our best. When stress is positive in its effect, we call it challenge or stimulation. When we cannot cope satisfactorily, the stress can be unpleasant or harmful. The trick is to react to stress, turn it around, and change the situation from negative to positive—easier said than done, but possible. Stress related conditions are manageable and treatable.
Some telltale signs of too much stress:
- Feeling irritable.
- Sleep problems—you’re either sleepy all the time or you can’t sleep at all.
- Never experiencing joy.
- You lose your appetite or can’t stop eating.
- Having trouble with relationships and no longer getting along with friends and family members.
One way to reduce stress is by accepting things as they are instead of how we would like them to be. It is not the stress that’s harmful, but how we deal with it. When you are under an unusual amount of pressure, there are some simple measures you can take that will help. The first one is to get plenty of sleep. A quick nap during the day if possible does wonders. If not, having some time alone to read, listen to music or just meditate, is calming.
An excellent relaxation technique is “belly breathing” or deep breathing; inhale deeply through your nose and blow out slowly through your mouth. This works in stressful situations, mental or physical, even though it takes a little practice to master. Aerobic exercise such as walking is one of the best ways to ease your mind. It is claimed that exercise promotes production of a natural antidepressant, as do certain foods such as vegetables.
One method to help yourself fall asleep when you are having difficulty is: concentrate on your favorite number or any pleasant situation that you remember. Continue picturing this in your mind until you get results. It helps clear your mind of the myriad of problems about which you are thinking that keep you awake.
Recreation is vital for mental health, so don’t feel guilty about enjoying any kind of fun or relaxation—it’s good for you! Laughter, even at the worse times in life, eases the pain. It is always helpful to practice good nutrition; eating right makes you feel good.
Examining your total life style may help; excellent professionals are available to aid in your evaluation. There are many problems in life–the normal personal problems, job, financial, health or another family member’s difficulties. These issues can often be worked out if you deal with them directly.
Two pieces of advice that I consider invaluable were given to me by my mother. She told me that life is a series of problem solving, and if you have pleasures along the way, enjoy them, but don’t expect them. Additionally, she told me to never feel too good or too bad about anything. Mothers often impart the best mental health.
I am a registered pharmacist who has always been highly interested in good health, and who utilizes current knowledge and experience to achieve that objective. I believe this includes exercise, sensible eating, social interaction, and striving to keep your mental capacity. I’m not a specialist in any of these fields, but in my pharmacy career I have learned a lot. I worked in my family-owned drugstore for many years, and interacted with a variety of people and many different maladies, picking up invaluable hints and easy treatments of everyday medical issues. I want to share some of these with you, to perhaps make a difference in solving and preventing health problems. If I learned anything along the way, it’s that I can advise you when and if you should seek medical help. I also plan to share some recipes of mine that contribute to healthy eating. I am convinced that the old adage “you are what you eat” still reigns true. I’ve enjoyed my work all these years, especially counseling patients and hope that you derive some knowledge and comfort from what I have learned.
Have questions? email Lee at: firstname.lastname@example.org