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Simply Fit, by Cindy Haskin-Popp, will help you make physical activity a part of everyday life. The health benefits of regular exercise and overall daily physical activity will be discussed. Fun, practical and easy-to-follow tips on an exercise program will be shared, as will the most current research. Fitness tips for families and seniors, on fitness centers and on buying proper and affordable equipment will be regularly given. 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Stress Awareness

April is Stress Awareness Month.  Uncontrolled stress can reek havoc on your mind and body, weakening your immune system and predisposing you to a number of ailments, including cardiovascular disease.  Regardless of the type of stress - whether good (eustress) which is associated with the positive events in your life; or, bad (distress) which depicts negative circumstances experienced, such as a death in the family - your body responds the same.  It is unable to discern the difference; therefore, the effects on respiration, heart rate, and blood pressure are the same - they go up.  When your body is under a chronic, persistent state of stress, health problems begin.  Although you are not able to completely rid your life of stressors, you can change your approach to them which, in turn, will minimize the toll they place on your mind and body.

My approach to the stressors in my life changed during the last semester of my undergraduate education after taking a "Stress and Health" course required to complete my major.  Up until that point, I was aware of the stressful situations and events in my life, but I was not mindful of them.  I addressed stress with a "look ahead" attitude, trying to rush time just to get the stressor "over with" and behind me.  Interestingly, what I learned in the course was that I actually needed to look back, not forward, to tackle the stresses in the present and the future.

The key to managing stress is perception.  Your perceptions of the events in your life are affected by the outcome of your earlier experiences.  The instructor of my college "Stress and Health" course stated that each one of us has experienced at least 3 or 4 major turning points in our lives which define who we are in the present; and, that we evaluate the potential impact of current stressors based on these defining moments.  This can lead to a distortion of the present reality.  My instructor stated that by identifying and evaluating the circumstances around our own life's turning points, we could then begin to "reshape" our perceptions of, and reactions to, current and future stressors.

An in-class assignment required us to "take a look back" at those moments in our lives.  The reflection involved a problem-solving process devoted to redefining the meaning of those events toward a more positive outlook.  We were to "let go" of the emotions associated with events out of our control, and learn from those situations that were within our control.  The premise of the activity was that by becoming mindful of the stressors and the circumstances that surround them, you are able to explore your abilities to cope; thus, minimizing your body's physiologic response.

You cannot eliminate stress, but you can change your reaction to it.  For those situations out of your control, practice relaxation techniques (e.g., deep breathing, yoga, meditation, aerobic exercise, etc.) to modify your physiologic response.  For those events within your control, identify the steps that you need to take to alter the outcome toward the positive.  And, don't be afraid to take a look back in order to proceed forward.

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Blogger Alan said...

This is a very interesting blog and so i like to visit your blog again and again. Keep it up.


April 15, 2010 at 1:05 AM 

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