You are not alone. And the Holiday Season can be an especially stressful time for many with added financial strain, grief and sadness over those we have loved and lost, and overwhelming, over-commitments.
According to the 2014 annual Stress in America™ survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) the Top 4 sources of stress are –
Money, Work, Family Responsibilities, and Health Concerns.
The APA study also found –
- 72% of Americans reported feeling stressed about money at least some of the time during the past month.
- 22% said that they experienced extreme stress about money during the past month
- Parents, younger generations and lower-income households (less than $50,000.00 annual income) have higher stress than others overall
- Some people are putting their health care needs on hold because of financial concerns.
- Stress about money impacts relationships
- 22% say they are not doing enough to manage their stress.
- American stress levels have been trending down since the annual survey first began in 2007, but still “higher than healthy levels.”
Here’s Some Good News –
- Americans who have some emotional support report lower stress levels
- Help is Available!
If you are experiencing negative stress in your life, or feel overwhelmed by stress seek help! Talk to your doctor. Ask about professional counseling. Look into resources in the community. Talk to family and friends for emotional support.
Remember – You are not alone! Stress is a normal and unavoidable part of life. Some stress is even considered positive, such as the stress that motivates us to accomplish a task. But too much negative stress can negatively affect your emotional and physical health and wellbeing. Especially when it occurs on a daily basis.
Stress Response – The response to stress can be physical and emotional tension, pain, lowered immune response, and inflammation. Chronic stress can lead to chronic disease including high blood pressure, endocrine, metabolic, autoimmune, and mental health disorders.
RELAX and DE-STRESS – The opposite of the stress response is the relaxation response. Methods to relax and de-stress include: acupuncture, art therapy, deep breathing, exercise, hypnosis, laughter/humor, massage, mindfulness, meditation, music and dance, reading, reiki, tai chi, and yoga. Consider incorporating complementary and integrative therapies into your ‘wellness care plan.’ Learn techniques that you can incorporate daily for ‘best results.’
REMEMBER to BREATHE. When stressed, people often breathe more shallow or even hold their breath. Breathing relaxation techniques are simple to learn, fast and effective to use, and available 24/7.
WALK or DRIVE by the OCEAN. Views of the water can change your psychology and physiology. Just ask Joey who is lucky to enjoy the View from the Dock every day! Take a drive along BackShore Gloucester or walk Good Harbor or Singing Beach and you will a relief of tension and experience your blood pressure lowering.
Lucky to Live on Cape Ann!
EXPRESS GRATITUDE. Preliminary studies show that a ‘daily dose of gratitude’ can help improve your sleep, your health, and your relationships. Keep a journal over the next 21 days. Write at least 1 thing you are grateful for each day. Observe your thoughts and mood and see how they change. Take time to watch a sunrise or sunset; you will benefit physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
THINK POSITIVE. The field of positive psychology is a growing field of scientific study that looks at strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive. “Positive emotions help a community survive.”
The first wealth is health. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
KEEP THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE – Yes, money matters but LOVE and HEALTH are more important than money. Prioritize your life with those things that matter most – Quality time with those you love.
SEEK HELP – For a healthy mind and body, seek emotional support from family and friends. Professional help is available – talk to your physician or a psychologist. Learn a relaxation technique you can practice and use daily to help de-stress and support a healthier mind, body and spirit.
** Contact me for more information on relaxation techniques. **
HELP with MONEY MATTERS – Tips from the APA on Managing Stress During Tough Economic Times can be found at – http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/economic-stress.aspx
COMMUNITY RESOURCES ARE PLENTIFUL ON CAPE ANN. If you are not sure where to turn, contact your physician, the Gloucester Public Health Department, Council on Aging, SeniorCare, or feel free to contact me for more information on other resources available.
However you choose to relax and support your immune system this holiday season, consider gifting yourself or your loved ones a ‘gift of relaxation’ and enjoy a healthier, happier holiday!
Wishing you a healthy, happy and peaceful holiday season. ~ Karen
Sources and for More Information –
- American Psychological Association Survey Shows Money Stress Weighing on Americans’ Health Nationwide. Feb. 2014. http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2015/02/money-stress.aspx
- APA offers tips to help deal with your stress about money and the economy. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/economic-stress.aspx
- In Praise of Graitude. Harvard Health Newsletter. Nov. 1, 2o11. http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/in-praise-of-gratitude
- Managing Stress During Touch Economic Times. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/economic-stress.aspx
- Science of Happiness. Harvard Magazine. Jan. – Feb. 2007.
- Understanding the stress response. Harvard Health News Letter. March 2011. http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-the-stress-response
Karen Pischke B.S.N., R.N., C.C.R.N. Alumnus. Certified Hypnotherapist, Tobacco Treatment Specialist, Usui Reiki Teacher/Komyo Shihan. Owner/Founder of Dreamtime Wellness™ Promoting Optimal Wellness for Body, Mind & Spirit www.DreamtimeWellness.com. Find us on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dreamtime-Wellness-/348619611849199
Disclaimer: This blog provides general information and discussion about health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately licensed physician or other health care worker. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. The views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, practice or other institution with which the authors are affiliated.