Do you feel like there is not enough hours in the day? Do you have trouble sleeping at night? Or, do you feel that your stress levels are low but you get pretty tired around mid-day? Life stressors can have a silent impact on physical and mental health, but they don’t have to.
2012 has been an amazing year so far. I graduated from medical school, married the Love of my Life, moved from BC to the East Coast, I am becoming a new father at the end of November, and I am starting my practice as a naturopathic doctor in January 2013. These are all welcomed changes and have brought me lots of happiness, therefore you would expect my stress levels and the impact of stress on my life to be low, right? However, when I just completed the Life Stress Test my score was is rated in the ‘high stress range’ stating that I have a “90 percent chance of developing an illness.” How could this be, I don’t feel stressed?
According to Dr. Holmes and Dr. Rahe, the original researchers who designed the Life Stress Test, any change, positive or negative, is perceived by the body as stressful. For example, getting married (one of the happiest moments of my life) is considered more stressful to the body than getting fired (50 points vs 47 points, respectively). Or, the moment everyone is waiting for and counting down to, retirement, is considered more stressful to the body than if your spouse was diagnosed with cancer (45 points vs 39 points, respectively). Therefore, it is important to have a few key stress management techniques to handle all life’s changes and stressors, even if they appear to be positive.
So how do you not let stress or life’s events impact your health? There are negative ways of coping and there are positive ways.
Negative ways will reduce stress in the short-term, but the hidden stress will still have an impact on your health long term.
Some common negative ways of coping with stressors are:
- numbing ourselves with TV, internet, and busyness
More positive ways to deal with the stress in your life, and to help prevent the impact to your health include:
- daily physical movement
- spending time in nature, outdoors, or somewhere that makes you feel relaxed & calm
- eating a healthy diet
- improving time management skills
- regular meditation and breathing exercises (as little as 5 minutes/day can be helpful when they are done regularly)
- improving the quality of the important relationships in your life
I know, I know…you already knew these…..but are you doing them?
What is your Life Stress Score?
Follow the link to take the questionnaire: http://www.healthcentral.com/sleep-disorders/stress-test-3454-143.html