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Relax - Stop Killing Yourself!

by Peter Giambalvo

Why do we insist on killing ourselves with stress? Are we worth so little to ourselves that our emotional health and well being is not worth taking care of? We go to the doctor to take care of our physical ailments but go nowhere to cure our emotional selves.

When presented with a stressful situation your body will react by flooding your system with the chemicals you need to stay alert, adrenaline and cortisol. These trigger the primal fight or flight instinct. If you are constantly in this state it will have a negative effect on you.

The chemical cortisol also has been proven to help a stressed woman deposit fat inside the abdomen. Even if you are skinny as a rail this physiological response will affect you as well. Starvation and /or exercise will not help the situation. Stress is part of a vicious cycle that needs to be broken. If you can’t get to sleep you will be unable to relax, and if you can’t relax you will be unable to sleep. Let’s all be more relaxed so we can sleep, and sleep so we can become more relaxed.

If you constantly experience the addition of increased adrenaline and cortisol in your system, are always in a fight or flight mode, the impact on your body and mind could manifest itself in many different ways.

· Forgetfulness/Brain deterioration.

University of California at Irvine researchers have found that “Short term stress lasting as little as a few hours can impair brain-cell communication in areas associated with learning and memory.” This study is based on prior research indicating that “severe stress lasting weeks or months can impair cell communication in the brain’s learning and memory region.” (1)

* Stress, short or long term, will impair your memory. Your brain will age quicker because “Cortisol harms brain in three ways: it interferes with brain's supply of glucose; it also interferes with function of neurotransmitters; and it causes influx of calcium into brain cells. Calcium creates free-radical molecules; therefore, directly killing and damaging brain cells.” (2) In order to slow down the brain’s aging process and diminishing memory functions you have to take the time to detach and relax your mind.

· Sexual difficulties.

Men, think back to a time when you were in an amorous mood and everything was going well with your lady. You were feeling great being with her and all of a sudden a negative thought somehow pops into your head and BAM!!!, the mood, as well as something else, is gone. You’re thinking “what just happened?” Simple, when negative thoughts and feelings interrupt your mind during sex, an erection may be impossible to maintain. When this point is reached, “the brain is disengaged from sexual arousal and the penis responds by deflating.” Women you are not immune from sexual difficulties due to stress either.” Stress accumulated at work is linked to early menopause, sterility and higher risk of miscarriage. Stress-reducing therapy can make women regain their fertility.” (3)

· Poor decisions and dangerous behavior.

Stress causes accidents. High stress affects concentration, decision making and behavior. The more worried you are the higher are the chances that you will cause an accident. So please leave your worries at the curb. Just because you just had a serious argument with your significant other, don’t run me over with your car.

· Sleep issues.

It is a medical fact that sleep loss leads to weight gain, therefore; if you are stressed out, you won’t sleep. If you don’t sleep, you won’t allow your mind and body to relax. If you don’t let your mind and body relax you won’t fit into your pants anymore. If you don’t want to have to buy new pants learn to relax.

These tips will add a positive layer to your subconscious mind in order to manage stress and anxiety. In order to lead a fulfilling life and perform at your potential you have to employ tools that will aid you in managing or reducing your stress and anxiety levels.

· Separate your home and work lives and not let the two affect each other.

Don’t get upset at your children, spouse and stress because of something “that guy” in the office next to you said. Conversely, don’t take a bad attitude to work due to an argument with the family dog.

· Schedule “down time” during your day.

By shutting off your system for as few as 15 minutes you will give your brain much needed rest.

· Aerobic exercise at least 30 minutes a day.

You will live longer, and healthier. “Aerobic exercise also keeps your mind sharp. At least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three days a week seems to reduce cognitive decline in older adults.”(4)

· Take a hot shower at the end of the day.

As hot shower can produce the relaxation effect you are looking for.

· Do not watch television while in bed.

While you are asleep your subconscious is still processing the sounds from the television and will be unable to take the opportunity to relax.

· Have sex.

Sex releases endorphins. Endorphins make you feel good. When you feel good you are more relaxed. Need I say more?

· Listen to relaxation tapes or CD’s.

Listening to guided meditation tapes or CD’s is a good way to allow your mind to detach itself and “wander” where it needs to in order to release the stress from the day.

· Employ a life coach.

Life coaching can provide a powerful way to help you manage your stress and anxiety and bring about permanent, positive change in your life.

Relaxation audio products will give you the tools you need to increasingly relax night after night. The trick is to listen to these CD’s every evening so that the messages of relaxation become a permanent part of your subconscious mind.

Take care of yourself, take care of others, and live well.

1. University of California - Irvine. "Short-Term Stress Can Affect Learning And Memory." Science Daily 13 March 2008. 12 January 2010http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080311182434.htm

2. "Brain Deterioration." Brain: Organ of the Mind. ThinkQuest.org, Web. 11 Jan 2010. <http://library.thinkquest.org/C0126536/main.php?currentchap=6¤tsect=deterio.htm>.

3. Ray, Linda. "Effects of Stress on Erectile Dysfunction." LiveStrong.com. 07/02/2009. LiveStrong, Web. 9 Jan 2010. <http://www.livestrong.com/article/15702-effects-stress-erectile-disfunction>.

4. Mayo Clinic Staff, "Aerobic Exercise: Top 10 Reasons to Get Physical." MayoClinic.com. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Web. 14 Jan 2010. <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/aerobic-exercise/EP00002>.

Peter Giambalvo is a certified life coach and specializes in stress and anxiety management and infertility groups. He is the co-founder of PERA Associates, a life coaching firm located in Havertown, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. He obtained his certification through the Certified Coaches Federation. He firmly believes in stress reduction so that individuals, and couples, can live happier and healthier lives. Any questions or comments about this article can be sent to pgiambalvo@peracoaching.com. 610-609-9012

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