Stress - It'll Kill Ya

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Do you feel "tied up in knots"? Have you been pulling your hair out lately? Is your heart palpitating, skipping beats? Are you having trouble falling asleep or waking up before the predawn light filters into your room?

We all feel it when life starts kicking us in the pants and just does not let up for even a day. Believe it or not, there is good stress ... you know ... when you are all pumped up about competing in a game, starting a new job, going on that first date.

Sadly, however, middle America is being pummeled with the bad kind these days. So many of us are feeling frustrated, angry, helpless and depressed because of lay offs, higher costs, pending foreclosures, lost finances and benefits.

Managing stress seems nearly impossible when faced with these social onslaughts for long periods of time but doing so, is vitally important. Anger and depression harmfully affect and weaken body functions, especially those of the heart, arteries and glands.

Worry and fear are major culprits as well. More and more people are experiencing extreme weight gain, depression, insomnia, high blood pressure, shingles, heart attacks and strokes because of the overwhelming stress in their lives.

Becoming aware of what causes it is the beginning and adopting coping mechanisms for those things you cannot change will help dramatically. Coping does not mean using alcohol as a crutch, losing yourself to drugs or, getting into fist fights, however. Easily said then done ... yes ... because most times extreme stress is bridled with depression.

Reaching out for professional help and talking out your problems is a wonderful stress reliever as well as daily brisk walks, any form of regular exercise and participating in sports. Losing control is not a sign of weakness. Gaining control over your emotional life is a sign of strength and begins with acknowledging the problem exists and finding relief that will benefit you personally and help you cope.

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