Friday, 21 June 2013

Stress and Minimalism

One of the greatest benefits of Minimalism is stress reduction. Stress is a silent killer, responsible for a variety of illnesses..... I know that sounds really cliche, but it is the total truth. When I get really stressed it's not long before I start to get sick, usually this manifests as a cold / flu or more often an inability to stomach food. I get head aches, tense sore muscles and generally feel like I have lost my Fizz, but the worst thing is how stress impacts my mental focus and decision making. When I get stressed I seem to make all the wrong decisions, I am grumpy, and reactive rather than proactive. Stress also turns me into the pessimist from hell, everything becomes doom and gloom and someone switches off that bloody light at the end of my tunnel.
Of course practising minimalism won't guarantee you a completely stress free existence, sometimes shit just happens, but living this way certainly reduces it significantly. More importantly for me minimalism has offered the tools to cope better and the focus to see things optimistically. I do on occasion revert to Mr Hyde (that's human - we all melt down from time to time in our own way), but for the most part the way I live now is peaceful and purpose driven, bumps on the road are now just that, bumps not mountains like they once were. I have another article to share with you, I am a great one for not re-inventing the wheel plus I like to direct you to other minimalist blogs as I feel a broad opinion base will help you find your niche in minimalism. Check out the link below, I think point 4 is one that will make the men out there smile, I certainly mentioned to my wife that point 4 seemed to be the most interesting of them all :-)

Living a life with a minimalistic foundation, and a focus on relationships and family, has got me as close to stress free as I have ever been. Minimalist families share life's burdens and draw strength and unity from their common focus. Years ago I would never have believed that living like this could be So freeing, but here I am now and so you could be too - Take the step!!

Below is an article on stress from WebMD, you can view the entire article by clicking the link below. It is an American article so don't hold their bad spelling against me :-) Take your time and read the link on how music can help with stress, I truly believe my instruments saved my life at one point. There have been times in my past where stress and depression had me on the verge of suicide, if it were not for the times when I could retreat and play I doubt I would be writing this article now.
"Stress affects us all. You may notice symptoms of stress when disciplining your kids, during busy times at work, when managing your finances, or when coping with a challenging relationship. Stress is everywhere. And while a little stress is OK -- some stress is actually beneficial -- too much stress can wear you down and make you sick, both mentally and physically.
The first step to controlling stress is to know the symptoms of stress. But recognizing stress symptoms may be harder than you think. Most of us are so used to being stressed, we often don't know we are stressed until we are at the breaking point.
Recommended Related to Stress Management
When she needs relief from the grind of delivering major proposals, Dana Marlowe, 33, of Washington, D.C., makes some noise. "I cruise right into my toddler’s playroom, and I just jam out with his toys -- the xylophone, the baby piano. I almost have 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star' down," says Marlowe, a technology accessibility consultant. This kind of casual music-making can short-circuit the stress response, research shows, and keep it from becoming chronic. Stress starts in the brain and then...
What Is Stress?
Stress is the body's reaction to harmful situations -- whether they’re real or perceived. When you feel threatened, a chemical reaction occurs in your body that allows you to act in a way to prevent injury. This reaction is known as "fight-or-flight,” or the stress response. During stress response, your heart begins to race, breathing quickens, muscles tighten, and blood pressure rises. You’ve gotten ready to act. It is how you protect yourself.
Stress means different things to different people. What causes stress in one person may be of little concern to another. Some people are better able to handle stress than others. And, not all stress is bad. In small doses, stress can help you accomplish tasks and prevent you from getting hurt. For example, stress is what gets you to slam on the breaks to avoid hitting the car in front of you. That's a good thing.
Our bodies are designed to handle small doses of stress. But, we are not equipped to handle long-term, chronic stress without ill consequences.
What Are the Symptoms of Stress?
Stress can affect all aspects of your life, including your emotions, behaviors, thinking ability, and physical health. No part of the body is immune. But, because people handle stress differently, symptoms of stress can vary. Symptoms can be vague and may be the same as those caused by medical conditions. So it is important to discuss them with your doctor. You may experience any of the following symptoms of stress.
Emotional symptoms of stress include:
·        Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody
·        Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control or need to take control
·        Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind
·        Feeling bad about yourself (low self-esteem), lonely, worthless, and depressed
·        Avoiding others
Physical symptoms of stress include:
·        Low energy
·        Headaches
·        Upset stomach, including diarrhea constipation, and nausea
·        Aches, pains, and tense muscles
·        Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
·        Insomnia
·        Frequent colds and infections
·        Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
·        Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear, cold or sweaty hands and feet
·        Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
·        Clenched jaw and grinding teeth
Cognitive symptoms of stress include:
·        Constant worrying
·        Racing thoughts
·        Forgetfulness and disorganization
·        Inability to focus
·        Poor judgment
·        Being pessimistic or seeing only the negative side
Behavioral symptoms of stress include:
·        Changes in appetite -- either not eating or eating too much
·        Procrastinating and avoiding responsibilities
·        Increased use of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes
·        Exhibiting more nervous behaviors, such as nail biting, fidgeting, and pacing
What Are the Consequences of Long-Term Stress?
A little stress every now and then is not something to be concerned about. Ongoing, chronic stress, however, can cause or exacerbate many serious health problems, including:
·         Mental health problems, such as hepression, anxiety, and personality disorders
·        Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, heart attacks, and stroke
·        Obesity and other eating disorders
·        Menstrual problems
·        Sexual dysfunction, such as impotence and premature ejaculation in men and loss of sexual desire in both men and women
·        Skin and hair problems, such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema, and permanent hair loss
·        Gastrointestinal problems, such as GERD, gastritis, ulcerative colitis, and irritable colon
Help Is Available for Stress
Stress is a part of life. What matters most is how you handle it. The best thing you can do to prevent stress overload and the health consequences that come with it is to know your stress symptoms.
If you or a loved one is feeling overwhelmed by stress, talk to your doctor. Many symptoms of stress can also be signs of other health problems. Your doctor can evaluate your symptoms and rule out other conditions. If stress is to blame, your doctor can recommend a therapist or counselor to help you better handle your stress."
~~~ Brett Tulk ~~~

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