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MAIN Arrow to Health Health Arrow to Kid's Health Stress

stressful is no way to go through lifeMost everyday stress begins with a too busy schedule, extra demands at work, lack of sleep — coupled with an improper diet that doesn't provide the nutrients the body needs to combat stress.

Worries about job security or performance, dealing with difficult coworkers, school exams, financial problems, family stress, or a rocky relationship are just some of the common stress-inducing life issues that almost everyone faces.

Back in the cave man days, a dangerous situation created a physical response. That 'fight or flight' reaction produced chemicals to let our ancestors run faster or fight harder. It was a survival skill that helped early people stay alive to fight — or flight — another day.

How you deal with stress can make the difference between whether it gets you sick, or provides you with the extra energy to tackle life's problems.

Time-tested tricks to reducing stress, suggest the experts, is talking about what may be troubling your mind or spirit. This is especially important when it comes to personal relationships or family members who may be involved in causing the unease. Although sometimes difficult, clearing the air can go a long way in releasing tension in any strained relationship.

also in the How-To Library:memory
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The effects of stress on your health

Studies show that stress has a direct correlation with heart disease, depression, the general lowering of the immune system and many other diseases. Yet experts agree that the simplest way of coping with common stress is taking time for a much-needed breather.

Desk exercises, deep breathing, running or jogging, or even a short walk often can go a long way toward refreshing the mind and spirit in order to clear your head and let you take on the world again.

Remember that your body produces stress chemicals to help you perform. Doing something physical lets your body use those hormones the way they were meant to work.

Nutrition also plays a large part in providing both the mental and physical strength needed to face the day.

While sugary treats may provide a quick fix of energy, all too often results in the "sugar blues" leaving the stressed-out even less able to cope. Instead, research has shown that B-complex vitamins found in foods or vitamin supplements are especially helpful in combating the ill-effects of too much stress (note: think fresh fruits, nuts and yogurt.)

Quiet meditation - and especially support from loved ones - also proves helpful in coping with emotional upheaval.

Life changing events such as moving to a new home, wedding stress, a death in the family, or the loss of a job naturally increase levels far above normal everyday stress. The worst case scenario is when war or natural disasters leave whole populations "shell-shocked" and in need of professional help to treat far more serious post traumatic stress disorder.

If you find yourself trying to deal with too much stress and feeling overwhelmed, speak to your doctor or health care provider. There are medications to relieve dangerous stress, as well as professionals who can help you learn more effective ways to deal with stress.

also see -> The health effects of stressful times

More about coping with stress around the Web:

Stress: How to Cope Better With Life's Challenges
- Excellent overview of common symptoms, exercise, meditation and other coping tips, with related resources for kids, teens and caregivers.

Ways to Relieve Stress - Here's the WebMD guide to dealing with everyday stress with detailed advice on various techniques including deep breathing, muscle relaxation, keeping a stress journal, and other proven methods.

Beating Stress Through Nutrition - The importance that nutrition plays in reducing or increasing stress includes improving everyday diet, with recommended vitamin supplements, and common mistakes to avoid.


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