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De-stress and live life to the full

by Ayobola Chike-Michael  
10/31/2015 / Health

De-stress yourself live life to the full

Working with a health authority has recently exposed me to many issues around health. Suddenly I developed an interest in developing a good quality of life. I have also observed a cocktail of activities which characterise the life of the average family. Most families from various parts of the globe fly through the week hopping from one event to the other. Whilst it is a sign of very good living to be up and doing, active and healthy, it becomes damaging when our activities move to the other end of the spectrum and makes life a complete burden.

Recently, I considered my quality of life after my new line of thought made me realise that life is not a rehearsal. I wanted to make a conscious effort to live this one life well by giving it my best and getting the very best out of it. I began to ask questions. Could I look back and say I have lived a good life, what can be the reason (s) for not living a good happy life? What has been the major obstacle in living it to the full? I realise no one can pass through life without having challenging situations every now and again. I think its inevitable in life but the difference in fostering a good life and a not-so-good one is the way we handle these undulating situations of life.

So what is the why, what, where, when and how of 'stress'? What is stress and what can we do about it? Before I go any further, I would love to clarify what exactly do I mean by stress? Many people use the word 'stress', when they feel they have had enough of a situation and can not take 'it' any longer, while digging into its meaning, I found a simple to understand definition on the web. 'Stress is a feeling that's created when we react to particular events. It's the body's way of rising to a challenge and preparing to meet a tough situation with focus, strength, stamina, and heightened alertness' (

Understanding stress from this angle enables us to know that stress could actually be managed well if we handle it rather than let it handle us. Some of the feelings that come with stress are anger, frustration, bitterness, impatience, feeling overwhelmed or hopeless, easily irritable, upset and teary. These feelings could then easily metamorphose to unwanted behaviours such as shouting, withdrawing from others, being shifty and unable to focus, being ineffient at home and work, inability to sleep or waking up too early in the morning. Stress could also cause some negative physical manifestations such as headache, comfort eating, fast heart beat, sweating, stomach upset among others.

Daniel de Bruyn and Joanna Bartlett stated in their 'Stress profile questionnaire' that 'Our complete well being requires 'health' in our four areas of life. The areas are spiritual, mental, physical and social and the outcome of too much unhandled stress also features in these areas'. We therefore need to make conscious efforts to develop a bespoke happy life for ourselves. It has to be unique to each family, individual as we all have different assignments in life, different temperaments, different faiths and different health needs. We should take some time to identify the sources of stress in our lives. We must be able to analyse what causes stress in our lives. We must also be able to deduce how to de-stress our lives by developing 'best practices' and encouraging ourselves to adhere to these practices.

Research has shown some sources of stress common to mankind. These are broadly categorised into family pressures, medical or health problems, workplace troubles, personal relationships, financial imbalance, activity and time overload, rapid change, pregnancy and many other irritants.

We must then develop coping strategies. Daniel de Brun and Joanna Bartlett give an excellent list of strategies that can be easily incorporated into our lives.

Take time to relax
Avoid self-destructive thinking
Talk to someone
Develop a social network
Develop a healthy lifestyle
Manage your resources (time and finances) better

I have also developed a personal list. The list keeps growing and you may add to it to suit your life.

Start your day with God for me its music, I either sing or start a worship CD, it ushers me into God's presence. It makes me relax and reassures me that God is in control. It is beautiful to start with praise and acknowledge the Creator of all

Plan your day no matter how little, from a mental framework to a kitchen list or a gantt chart, planning helps me to be in control and helps me to reassess myself and count my successes and outstanding activities. I emphasise this for people with big families or multiply commitments.

Get some exercise this is important because it keeps you in shape, helps blood flow, aids better and sharp thinking, keeps you going. It could be a walk round the block, morning jog or useful stretches every now again

Eat good food this helps to refuel your brain, it is better to feed the body with good food, imagine a car fuelled with Kerosene instead of Petrol

Find some me-time on a daily basis, one should have at least 10mins for oneself, to do whatever makes you happy without the interruption of ringing phones, crying children, television or radio blaring. It could be a nap, a gaze at nature, read a book, play the piano, listen to music, or just any good thing you fancy.

Decide to be nice to everyone I always hear my Mum's voice re-echoing the classic Yoruba proverb how many days does a man have to live? Surely it isn't many enough to live each one wearing iron armour like one on a battle field! Also King Solomon said Do not be over wicked, and do not be a fool why die before your time? Ecclesiastes 7:17

Finally keep that smile goingas much as you can and are able to. Don't allow yourself to be grumpy for a long time Proverbs 17:22 Being cheerful keeps you healthy. It is slow death to be gloomy all the time!

This short article was written by Ayobola Chike-Michael. Please feel free to share or print however kindly acknowledge the author. thanks

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