Stress – how do you handle it?

Recognizing factors that lead to stress are important or else you can be sent spiraling down the road to defeat, disaster or disease.

An interesting phenomenon happens each time I lift off from Owen Roberts Airport and look down upon the verdant island home we call Cayman. Watching traffic wind along gentle roads and tranquil boats moored at Stingray City, I marvel at how many people these days are proclaiming: ‘I am so stressed.’ And they are. It is evident in attitudes on our roads and in homes and offices. It is seen in faces. It is evident in matters of health.

Under stress, we often feel totally out-of-control. We suddenly ‘wolf down’ a few cookies in the kitchen, rip open a bag of potato chips in the car or find ourselves yelling at children, other drivers and God. Many people drown out stress at a nightly happy hour bar.

Stress has become a #1 killer, according to medical statistics, and is linked to many physical and emotional disorders ranging from headaches, backaches, digestive problems and depression. Those concerned with high blood pressure certainly know the dangers of increased stress.

When it comes to losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, stress is often the largest obstacle on one’s path. The soothing band-aid effect of food or drink is short-lived and usually the repercussions of such behaviour adds its own new stress in terms of self-recrimination.

Maintaining a balanced, healthy lifestyle requires us to take steps to reduce and relieve stress. Here are some lifestyle tips that are easy to implement into a less-stressed lifestyle:

Develop order. Tidy up, put things away. Toss clutter.

Shorten your ‘to do’ list to the most important.

Plan extra time for driving to work and appointments.

Bring lunch to work to avoid rushing around at midday

Nurture your body with healthy food (especially B vitamins) and get regular activity. Seven Mile Beach is not only for tourists.

Plan for weekend relaxation by finishing errands by Friday.

Get plenty of sleep!

Appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.

Laugh. Children laugh about 300 times a day, adults about five!

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