By Linda Rondeau
One of my favorite magazines growing up was Mad Magazine. How much I wanted to identify with its caricature, Alfred E. Neumann’s pet phrase, “What? Me Worry?”
I believe aging produces more stress in the human experience than even the days of the three ring circus, juggling kids, spouses, and jobs within an ever-changing world. Or perhaps those years were preparation for the next stage in life? No matter what stage of life, like the relief of a burp, we want to find relief from our stress.
If you’re experiencing stress due to illness, family transitions or job changes, take a few minutes to read this helpful information. Remember that even good changes in life can be stressful. So laugh it up, and quote Alfred . . . Don’t let the worry bug zap you of life’s simple pleasures.
The stress response
When we face a situation that we perceive is a threat our body responds quickly preparing us for fight or flight. When facing stress:
o Our brain releases hormones that trigger emotional preparedness and alertness so that you can respond quickly and rationally.
o Our heart rate and blood pressure increases.
o Breathing becomes rapid and the lungs take in more oxygen.
o Blood flow increases to 300-400 percent.
o Our spleen discharges red and white blood cells allowing the blood to transport more oxygen.
o The immune system is dampened as white blood cells are redistributed.
o Fluids are diverted from nonessential locations including the mouth, causing dryness and difficulty in talking.
o Stress can cause spasms of the throat muscles making it difficult to swallow and fight infection.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE IF YOU ARE OVERSTRESSED?
Below are suggestions from the Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit at Fletcher Allen Healthcare.
Listen to your body: It will let you know when you’ve had enough. Listen to that queasy stomach, stiff neck or sleepless nights.
Listen to your feelings: When moments of peace are rare and your moods as unpredictable as the weather, you may have reached your stress limit.
Listen to your spirit: If you feel apathetic, cynical, and feel that life has lost its meaning, it is likely that stress has gotten the best of you.
Listen to your relationships: When you find yourself intolerant and easily irritated by other people, you may find it is time to deal with your stress overload.
HOW CAN I MANAGE STRESS?
“Grant me the courage to change the things I can change, the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference.” By Reinhold Niebuhr
In a nutshell:
o Keep a positive attitude and accepting there are events that you cannot control.
o Reduce your stressors.
o Assert your feelings, opinions or beliefs, instead of becoming angry, combative or passive.
o Learn to relax.
o Exercise regularly.
o Eat well-balanced, nutritious meals.
o Get enough rest and sleep.
o Create a good network of social support.
o Consult your doctor or a mental health counselor if there are any medical or psychological conditions accompanying stress.
o Keep or develop a sense of humor during even the most trying times.
o Do something for others.
MY PRESCIRPTION? STOP WORRYING AND LEARN TO LAUGH.
Winner of the 2012 Selah Award for best first novel (The Other Side of Darkness/Harbourlight), LINDA RONDEAU, writes for the reader who enjoys a little bit of everything. Her stories of redemption and God’s mercies include romance, suspense, the ethereal, and a little bit of history into the mix, always served with a slice of humor. Walk with her unforgettable characters as they journey paths not unlike our own. After a long career in human services, mother of three and wife of one very patient man, Linda now resides in Florida where she is active in her church and community. Readers may visit her web site at www.lindarondeau.com. Her second book, written under L.W. Rondeau, America II: The Reformation, Trestle Press, the first in a dystopian trilogy, is a futuristic political now available in ebook on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. Print edition is coming soon. She is also contracted with Trestle Press for a prequel to her America II trilogy called Rains of Terror. This will appear in serial form. Volume One will be released soon. An Adirondack romance will be released in October by Lighthouse of the Carolinas in time for the Christmas season and is called, It Really Is a Wonderful life.