Chronic stress is a real problem. We know stress is bad for our health, but there are things every day that create hollow feelings in our chest and the tightness in our neck and shoulders, that make us feel trapped and frustrated. Here are a few of the most common causes, and why you should let them go.
Job and Career
Many people spend more time at work than they do at home, with their family, or enjoying relaxing or fun activities. Large workloads or problems with your boss can also add to this stress. Even those who like their jobs tend to stress over them, because they care a lot about what happens at work.
It’s hard not to stress about work, but try to remember that you work to live, you don’t live to work. If you can keep this in mind and let the little things roll off your back, you might find that work is easier to tolerate.
Also known as “Keeping up with the Joneses,” we all worry about how we look compared to others. If those around us have lots of cool things, and we feel like we are living paycheck to paycheck, this can create a lot of stress.
It’s important to remember that in all likelihood, those we envy are also struggling in the same way. Someone always has more, and as long as you have a roof over your head, food in the fridge, and covering bills, things are okay.
Health-related stress can arise from personal issues like you or a loved one being sick, or it can be over your healthcare coverage. Try to take these issues as they come and avoid stressing over them, because stressing over health issues can actually make your health worse, creating conditions like depression, or lowering your immune system. We all get sick, and most of us get better.
You’re fighting with your significant other. Your kids are acting out, or your folks are coming down hard on you for something you think is stupid. One of your friends has done something insensitive or a conflict with a co-worker is making life tough.
Relationships are a constant source of stress, but try and remember that the people around you can be a source of comfort as well as stress. Resolve your conflicts and understand that arguments pass.
The Grass is Greener
The “Grass is greener” syndrome is a real source of stress. We’re always pursuing a better job, a more advantageous financial situation, and a perfect life. This is a constant stressor for many people, and one of the hardest lessons to learn is that there is no perfect life. Try to look at what you have instead of what you don’t have, and you’ll realize that your life is probably pretty amazing as it is.
Stress is not our friend. In fact, it causes us to age more rapidly than we otherwise would, right down to the cellular level. The next time you notice a new gray hair and wonder how it got there, it may be time to examine the stressors in your life, and try to let them go.
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