Top 10 Ways to Lower Your Financial Stress
With the fast-paced, high-pressure lives that many of us lead, full of hefty job and family responsibilities, it's no wonder that we sometimes feel stressed to the limit and out of control of our lives. We all have to live with stress, but if not reined in, it can profoundly affect both mind and body. Fortunately, you can gain control of your life, slow things down, and curb stress. Stress doesn't just arise from unpleasant, aggravating events. Positive happenings like getting married, starting a new job, being pregnant, or winning an election can also tense us up. It isn't all bad, either. In fact, it protects us in many instances by priming our body to react quickly to adverse situations. This ‘fight-or-flight response’ helped keep human beings alive when their environment demanded quick physical reactions in response to threats. The problem in modern times is that our body's stress response is regularly triggered even though our lives are not essentially in danger. Chronic exposure to stress hormones can damage the body. Everything from headaches, an upset stomach, skin rashes, hair loss, racing heartbeat, back pain, and muscle aches can be stress related. The perception of stress is highly individualized. What jangles your friend's nerves may not faze you in the least, and vice versa. In other words, what matters most is not what happens to you, but how you react to the situation at hand. The Health Effects of Stress It is now considered a well-established fact that psychological stress can be a trigger or an important factor in a variety of physical symptoms and diseases processes. For example: Medical research suggests that up to 90% of all illness and disease is stress-related, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Evidence shows chronic stress can lower immunity and make people more susceptible to infections. Conversely, stress-reduction strategies, such as meditation, relaxation, and exercise, have been shown to help reverse this effect (by increasing the number of infection-fighting cells and feel-good chemicals called endorphins in the body) and prevent disease. Stress has been shown to contribute to the development of heart disease and high blood pressure. Skin doctors have found that many skin conditions, such as hives and eczema, are related to stress. Stress is thought to be a common cause of everyday aches, pains, and health problems, such as headaches, backaches, stomachaches, diarrhea, sleep loss, and loss of sex drive. Stress also appears to stimulate appetite and contribute to weight gain. The best way to reduce the amount of stress in your life and avoid these possible health risks is to identify the stress triggers in your life.