Editorial: Conquer stress sensiblyIt’s a high-pressure world we live in, with ever-increasing responsibilities.
It’s a high-pressure world we live in, with ever-increasing responsibilities.
No wonder stress looms large for many of us. How we deal with it can make a difference.
Some have turned to smoking. Certainly not an ideal remedy, considering the potential devastation smoking has on an individual’s health. That’s why many who’ve chosen this method of addressing stress now want to quit.
But quitting smoking is extremely difficult; six out of 10 smokers require multiple quit attempts to stop smoking, according to information from the American Lung Association. Yet, preparing a quit-smoking plan can greatly improve a person’s chance for success.
The following are tips and resources that have helped thousands of people give up smoking for good:
—Talk to a doctor or pharmacist about the various types of treatments and different over-the-counter and prescription medications available to help you quit smoking.
—Look into the different options available to help smokers quit. The American Lung Association Lung HelpLine offers free counseling from trained smoking cessation counselors. The statewide toll-free number is 1-800-548-8252.
—Take time to plan. Pick a quit date a few weeks ahead of time and mark it on the calendar. If possible, pick a day when life’s extra stresses aren’t at their peak. As the quit day approaches, gather the medications and tools you need, get some preliminary counseling from the HelpLine and map out how you’re going to handle the situations making you want to smoke.
—Get some exercise every day. Walking is a great way to reduce the stress of quitting. Exercise is proven to not only combat weight gain, but also to improve mood and energy levels.
—Eat a balanced diet, drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep.
—Ask family, friends and co-workers for their help and support. Having someone to take a walk with or just listen can give a needed boost.
—You don’t have to quit alone. Help is available online and in the community. Consider joining a stop-smoking program like Freedom from Smoking (www.ffsonline.org).
Meantime, some studies show changing lifestyle practices can help decrease stress and improve the quality of life even beyond one’s best expectations. According to the American Institute of Stress, over 110 million Americans take medication for stress-related causes every week.
Most of us worry about things making us feel stressed, but some people spend an excessive amount of time worrying about tomorrow. Many chronic worrywarts probably wish they could change the way they view the world, but they simply don’t know how to stop worrisome thoughts.
Keep in mind our bodies are designed for short bursts of stressful activity, but ongoing daily stress often means the system has been left “on” to respond. If you often feel stressed and tired, you may be getting signals your body is overworked. Stress varies from person to person, but it can involve mental, physical or behavioral changes. If you have difficulty concentrating, have headaches, tight muscles or have difficulty sleeping, these may be stress signals you shouldn’t ignore.
Some people may experience a combination of signals. Ultimately, if stress and anxiety aren’t resolved, it may impact your ability to work effectively. It can also increase the risk of injury and disease.
So make new lifestyle choices, as follows:
—Learn relaxation and mindfulness techniques.
—Have a healthy diet. When we have a healthy diet and get adequate rest, we tend to remain healthy and feel positive about ourselves. Good sleep and nutrition also help maintain more steady levels or our so-called stress hormones which keep us more stable emotionally.
—Exercise. For people who are prone to anxiety, there’s real evidence regular, moderate exercise can have anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects.
—Maintain a positive attitude. Stay focused on the good things going on in your life. Reflect on your successes instead of things that are out of your control.
—Write down your worries. Journaling what worries you may help pinpoint the real core of some problems so you can work on them more objectively.
—Take time out for you. Engage in activities making you feel energized and rejuvenated. The important thing is to find things to do to give you pleasure instead of sitting around worrying.