American Psychological Association’s 2010 “Stress in America” survey shows that 75% of Americans experience chronic stress. Stress can be caused by too many demands and too little time to respond to those demands.
When you’re feeling stressed, your heart beats faster and your breathing increases. In the short term, this gives you extra energy to handle what is perceived as a threatening situation. If this goes on for any length of time, your body simply wears out. “Prolonged stress causes depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance and causes people to eat poorly,” said Peterson. “All this compounds into an unhealthy lifestyle.”
“A little stress in our daily lives motivates us to accomplish our tasks — before the deadline at work, for example,” said C.J. Cangianelli, life coach. “Stress becomes problematic when our eating and sleeping patterns change, when we become unfocused and consumed with worry and anxiety. Listen to your body. It will tell you when your stress has reached unhealthy levels.”
De-stressing can be as simple as exercising regularly, getting outdoors for fresh air and sunshine, or spending more time with loved ones. Even looking at photographs of the people you love can cause a calming reaction in your body.
If you’re not sure how to reduce your stress, massage is a great way to learn how to relax.