New Britain City Journal

New Britain's Weekly Online Newspaper


Stress… How to Battle a Silent Enemy

Stress is a word many of us are familiar with. We all have been exposed to some form of stress at one point in our lives. For those who are not familiar, stress occurs as a response to demands placed on one’s body and/or mind. There are many types of stressors (factors that cause stress) that have both positive and negative effects on the body.

Stress may be caused by a number of things. These stressors may be external or internal. Major life changes, being too busy, work, financial problems, and children and families are all examples of external stressors. Meanwhile, perfectionism, pessimism, negative self talk, and the inability to accept uncertainty are all examples of internal stressors.

When our bodies are constantly being exposed to stressors for long periods of time, it begins to affect us physically. It [stress] can raise our blood pressures, weaken our immune system (making it easier for us to get sick), increase the risk for heart attacks or strokes, and speed up the aging process.

We need to focus on how to relieve stress because constant exposure to stress is what causes the body harm. But what can you do about it? There are several ways to relieve stress. The key is to make yourself relax. This may be done using some different techniques. This may include exercise, humor, and expressing your feelings.

Good exercise techniques that facilitate relaxation are yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises. When practiced regularly, these activities lead to a reduction in your everyday stress levels and a boost in your feelings of joy and serenity.

Maybe exercising isn’t right for you. If this is the case, than expressing your feelings is another great way for you to reduce stress. This may include journaling and/or talking. Writing about stressful events and how you felt at that time help you recognize what is causing you stress and avoiding those situations. Talking with family, friends, or a counselor can provide the same type of release.

If exercising and expression is not the right thing for you, a good way to relax your body to reduce stress is humor. Everyone could use a good laugh. You could watch a funny movie, read a funny joke, or just go out with friends and have a good laugh. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter can do things for the body both mentally and physically. When we laugh, “we lighten our mental load, stimulate many organs from breathing in oxygen-rich air, activate and release your stress response, and relieve tension in our bodies.”

If you would like to reduce your stress levels, you can find yoga classes available to you here in New Britain and in surrounding towns or go out with friends or family to share a laugh. No matter what method you choose, do your body a favor and reduce your stress levels.