All through time stress has played a role in our lives. The challenged economic environment that we live in today is a perfect recipe for stress overload in many individuals. When faced with stressful situations, the body produces an increased amount of cortisol and epinephrine. This influx of hormones affects a number of other facets in our body that are geared to maintaining optimum health. It is becoming more evident that if stress is not dealt with properly, it manifests itself into a number of common disorders.
Aside from the obvious psychological turmoil, unmanaged stress is believed to be a contributing factor in other health issues such as asthma, migraines, depression, arthritis, diabetes, ulcers, heart disease, and even digestive problems. Recurring attacks of genital herpes may even be the result of stress overload. Relaxation Therapy can offer some effective techniques in learning to manage stress. Simple strategies can be learned through self help books or in a Relaxation Therapy class. They could be as simple as sitting for 15 minutes in a reclining chair with closed eyes while you repeat the word "one" silently each time you exhale.
A more active technique consists of focusing on one specific area of the body, tensing all the muscles in that area, then relaxing them. Usually this is started in the head, then you move down to each other body part until and including the feet. Controlled breathing is emphasized in most relaxation techniques. You may decide to opt for a more sophisticated version of progressive relaxation or formalized transcendental meditation. It is important to get proper instruction through a class, a book, or a professional to prevent hyperventilation which may complicate the anxiety or stress. Thirty minutes of vigorous, aerobic exercise completed three or more times per week is helpful in controlling stress. Side benefits of this include maintaining weight control, cardiovascular fitness, and diabetes control.
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