Editorial: There are sensible ways to beat stressIt’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. That’s not a remedy, considering the potential devastation smoking has on our health. Many who’ve chosen this method of addressing stress now want to quit.
But quitting smoking is hard. The American Lung Association says six out of 10 smokers require multiple quit attempts to stop smoking. Yet preparing a quit-smoking plan can boost a person’s chance for success.
The following are tips and resources that have helped thousands 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.
--Try to 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 coworkers 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 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 affect your ability to work well. It can also increase the risk of injury and disease.
New lifestyle choices may help:
--Learn relaxation and mindfulness techniques.
--Have a healthy diet. When we eat well and get adequate rest, we tend to remain healthy and feel good about ourselves. Sleep and nutrition also help maintain more steady levels of our so-called stress hormones that keep us emotionally stable.
--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 that make you feel energized and rejuvenated. The important thing is to find things to do that give you pleasure instead of sitting around worrying.
The Journal’s online poll question this week asked: How do you define senior citizen?
Early results show: 65 or older, 46.4%; People in their 70s, 80s or 90s, 39.3%; 50+, 7.1%; It totally depends on the person, not the number, 7.1%; Anyone older than me, 0%.
Go to www.riverfallsjournal.com to vote and to catch local news updates.