Stress Management
How To Break Free From
A Stressful Life

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Introduction - Stressed Out?

Just about everyone who you talk to nowadays will complain about being �stressed out.� Thirty years ago, no one ever even used this term. Today, however, it is a staple in most conversations. We often refer to ourselves as being �stressed out� when we discuss our careers as well as our personal lives.

Recent studies indicate that even children are �stressed out.� Little kids, who shouldn�t have a care in the world, are becoming �stressed� due to activities at home or at school. In most cases, they are simply inheriting the stress from their parents.

Psychologists who deal with �stressed out� individuals blame the current situation on everything from the foods we eat to our society. Most agree that people today attempt to do �too much� and end up getting burned out.

We all experience stress during the course of our lives. There is a difference, however, in being constantly stressed out and experiencing stress due to a certain situation. Anything that dramatically disrupts our lives is a cause for stress. Most people recover from the stressful situation after it has been resolved or over a period of time.

Other people tend to get stressed out all the time. In fact, their entire life appears to be one big stress factory. This is unhealthy and is gradually taking its toll on our society. Each year, billions of dollars are spent on symptoms of stress. There are dozens of prescriptive medicines on the market today that address stress and anxiety. Millions of people are on some sort of medication for �stress.�

What has happened in the past thirty years that has caused us to become such a nation of stressed out individuals? Is society expecting too much from us or are we expecting too much from ourselves? Why are so many people suffering from the following:

⦁ Anxiety disorder
⦁ Social anxiety disorder
⦁ Obsessive compulsive disorder
⦁ Anorexia Nervosa
⦁ Depression
⦁ Panic attacks

Years ago, no one ever even heard of these conditions, now they are featured in every magazine you encounter. There is a huge market to treat both depression and anxiety, which usually go hand in hand and are the offspring of stress.

Pharmaceutical companies are cranking out different anti-depressants all of the time. These are said to be �better� than the other anti-depressants that they discovered a year prior. Thirty years ago, no one ever even heard the term �anti-depressant.� If you used that expression back then, people would think you were talking about something to do with your car.

Today it seems as if every single person you encounter is �on something� for stress, depression or anxiety. All of them can neatly be lumped into the same category and are caused by stress.

Stress is usually at the root of all of the above psychological disorders. It also affects us physically as well. Stress has been linked to every disease known to man, including heart disease and cancer. Clearly, it is not a good idea for people to be under stress. But, as human beings, we are going to experience stressful situations. There is no avoiding this fact. Therefore, in order to really be able to help cure ourselves from being �stressed out� we need to know how to do the following:

⦁ Identify stressors that affect our daily lives;
⦁ Eliminate the stressors of which we can free ourselves;
⦁ Learn to deal with stressful situations in a healthy way

If you are one of the millions of people who are feeling stressed out, you must take a look at the reasons why you are stressed out and try to do what you can to eliminate as much stress as you can from your life. If you continue to be �stressed out� you will most likely find yourself taking some sort of prescription drug for one of the above disorders. Taking prescription drugs for stress does not mean that you are �crazy.� This book will discuss alternative ways to deal with stress, but as a last resort, you are better off with the medications than allowing your body to be battered by stress.

Life is way too short to go through it being stressed out. And chances are that you will shorten your lifespan significantly if you continue to be �stressed out � through the daily course of your life. This is especially true as many of the things over which you may be stressed are minor, but have been blown up in your mind to be worse than they actually are.

Wouldn�t it be nice to actually be able to go through life without being �stressed out� over everything and without drugs or medications? This book will teach you everything you wanted to know about stress and how you can avoid this scourge that seems to be plaguing millions of people.

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Chapter 1 - What Is Stress?

Stress is an intrusion on your peaceful existence. All of us strive to have orderly and peaceful lives. We tend to develop well when we get into certain routines. Human beings are all animals. If you have ever owned a dog, you may have observed that the dog thrived very well on routine. You had to walk the animal a certain time each day, it had to be fed at a certain time each day and it slept at a certain time each day. The dog depended on a routine.

When the routine was broken, the dog would do things such as have accidents in the house, or behave in another destructive type manner. This is because the dog was actually stressed out. Why was the dog stressed out? Because his or her routine had been broken.

Human beings behave the same way. Parents often find that their children will behave much better when they have a set routine than if everything is pandemonium in the household. Routines give a child a feeling of security, which is the one thing that a child wants most of all.

Many people will complain that their kids are unruly and do not want to go to bed on time. Their bedtime �routine� involves telling their kids to go to bed. It then escalates into screaming at their kids to go to bed to threatening their kids with punishment if they do not go to bed.

The entire �go to bed� issue can be avoided if the parents simply set a bedtime routine. Milk and cookies. A bedtime story and being tucked in. Every night. The children know what to expect and actually end up looking forward to bedtime. This gives children an added sense of security, something that they really need in their lives.

We all want to feel safe and secure, but as we get older, we realize that we cannot always count on things being the same. We experience different incidents in our lives that turn our world upside down and cause us to feel stress. Most of these incidents we cannot control, others we can control to a certain degree. Some of us are fortunate enough not to experience these stressors until adulthood. Others experience stress as young children.

Stress can be pinned to an outside factor or something that we create in our own heads. If we are creating self induced stress, chances are that something from the outside triggered this condition and the resulting response.

Some of the more notorious causes of stress are the following:

Death of a loved one

This can be a spouse, parent, child or friend. Death is part of life, but the death of a loved one is something that causes significant stress. Our hearts are broken as we grieve for our loved one and our lives are seriously disrupted. This is something which we can do little about, unfortunately, and also something we all have to deal with, sooner or later. Many people recover from this stressor and continue with their lives. Others never fully recover. Death of a loved one can cause a number of serious illnesses that we take on ourselves, including depression.
The death of a child is probably the worst pain anyone can endure and many people never fully recover from this type of stress, however, they do manage to go on with their lives for the sake of others around them. Despite the fact that the death of a child is enough to put anyone over the edge, most people have more of a life force and feel compelled to go on. However, this is one stress factor that can be completely devastating to someone emotionally and is one from which one never fully recovers.


Even if we are glad to get rid of our ex-spouse, divorce is a major stressor in our lives. In addition to causing us to feel stress, it can also stress out our children. Many couples are so wrapped up with their own emotions during a divorce that they fail to notice the impact of the situation on their children. Chances are that the kids are feeling quite a bit of turmoil, even if they are too young to understand what is really going on. In fact, younger children can experience even more stress than older children in the case of their parent�s divorce because they cannot put their emotions into words, nor can they understand that daddy or mommy going away has nothing to do with them. To a young child, everything in the world has something to do with them.

A child who experiences the trauma of his or her parents� divorce will feel stress. In some cases, the stress may manifest itself to a number of psychological disorders, including anxiety. The routine has been broken and the child no longer feels safe, so he or she will come up with a way to alleviate the stress and retain some sort of control over their lives by developing a disorder such as anorexia. Children should see a counselor when the parents� divorce, whether or not they appear �fine.� Some children will be able to deflect the stress better than others, but it is always a good idea to make sure that the child truly is �fine.�


Even if you are moving from a shack to a palace, this is still stressful. It may be a happy occasion, but it is still a disruption of your routine. And any disruption of your routine causes stress. Moving disrupts the entire family. And it is a real pain in the neck. Plus you have to deal with the packing.

Everyone hates moving. Packing up all of your belongings and then unpacking them is just a hassle. Very few of us are fortunate enough to be able to have someone do all of this labor for us so it tends to be stressful. However, even if we do not have to lift a finger, moving is still a disruption of our normal routine.

It will take a while before you can get established into your new home. Until you do, you should try to maintain as much of your normal routine as possible, especially if you have children.

Major Illness

Any type of major illness is a significant stressor for the entire family. One person being ill does not just affect that person, but everyone around him or her. A major illness is one of the worst stressors we can endure as it can go on for years, taking its emotional toll on everyone around, especially children.

Many people who experience a major illness enter into a depression. This is usually due to the dramatic change in their life. Others will most likely also enter into a state of depression or exhibit unusual behavior. A young person who has a very ill parent may start turning to drugs, alcohol or other behavior to alleviate the stress he or she feels due to the parent�s illness. They will be unable to deal with the stress and chances are that the rest of the family will be emotionally unavailable for help. Self medicating with drugs, alcohol or even promiscuous sex is a way for some young people to cope with the illness of a parent.

Job Loss

In addition to being humiliating, the loss of a job will most likely through you into financial turmoil. Losing a job often results in depression as well as anxiety. Not only did your self esteem take a hit, but you are also worried about money. You will probably experience stress until you get a new job or reconcile yourself to the fact that you will have to get by on less money.

Until you get your bearings, you will face a disruption in your lifestyle as well as your financial status. The uncertainty the surrounds getting another job also affects us when it comes to stress. Losing a job and having to find another job is very stressful.

Even if we quit a job for a better job, this is still considered a stress factor. Starting a new job, while a good thing, is stressful for most individuals. Why? Because it breaks our routine. And anything that breaks our routine causes stress.

These are just a few of the major stress factors that we, as a society, face. There are other things that can lead to stress, but these are among the worst.

In some cases, happy events such as the birth of a child, marriage, or even a new job can lead to stress. Even though these are joyous occasions, they are stressful. Why? Because they disrupt our lifestyle.

Are you sensing any sort of pattern here with regard to stress? Each of the aforementioned stressors all has one thing in common - they disrupt our lives. We don�t like to have our lives disrupted and when it happens, even if it a good disruption, it causes stress.
We cannot go through life like robots and expect for nothing to ever change. We are going to experience stressful situations throughout our lives. How we handle the stressful situations will determine how well we can manage stress. There are both good ways and bad ways to manage stress.

Chapter 2 - Stress Manifestation

Stress usually takes a toll on us emotionally as well as physically. Many people who have been exposed to a series of stressful situations are diagnosed with anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders encompass an entire range of symptoms. All anxiety disorders have one thing in common and that is that the desire for the person suffering from the disorder to control his or her environment.

Obsessive compulsive disorder is thought to be inherited, although it is a common reaction to stress. There is no specific gene that has been found that causes this disorder, yet, like most psychological disorders, it is common for someone who suffers from this problem to have close relatives who also suffered. Is this genetic or a learned condition on how to react to stress?

People who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder usually cannot control their obsessive thoughts. They feel out of control most of the time and, to combat this �out of control� feeling, they go through a series of rituals, or compulsions, that help them feel that they have some control over their environment. This can be washing their hands over and over, locking and re-locking doors, or even repeated praying. The compulsions make them feel as though they are in control.

Anorexia Nervosa is similar to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. In this case, a person, usually a young woman, will actually convince herself that she is fat and proceed to starve herself, in some cases, to death. The root of the problem is usually a desire to control something within her environment that appears to her to be out of control. Many young women exhibit symptoms of anorexia when they enter college, a stress factor because their lives have been disrupted.

General anxiety disorder is a name given to a condition where someone experiences severe anxiety but does not fall into known categories such as social anxiety disorder, where you fear social situations, anorexia, or obsessive compulsive disorder. Those with generalized anxiety disorder normally do not know that they have the condition until they wind up in the emergency room of the local hospital experiencing symptoms of what appears to be a heart attack. An anxiety attack, or panic attack, presents like a heart attack. It is usually brought on by stress, either real or imagined.

Stress usually manifests itself in anxiety and/or depression. Anxiety manifests itself in many different ways, including Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Anorexia. Depression manifests itself in one way - the person does not get any enjoyment out of life. If left untreated, depression can be fatal.

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Each year, we hear about young people who kill themselves. Suicide among teenagers and even younger children has been somewhat of an epidemic for the past two decades. Prior to 1980, we rarely heard of a suicide in young people. Most people did not know more than one person who killed themselves. Today, most school districts can name quite a few students who killed themselves in the past two years. Most high school students can name at least two young people who they knew who killed themselves. This is tragic. Young people with their entire lives ahead of them are killing themselves due to stress. In most cases, the stress is self inflicted - the young person wants to get into a certain college and feels that they are not getting the best grades. At the age of 17, a young person feels that his or her life is over because they are just not good enough for the world. This is a tragedy.

In addition to causing mental problems, stress can also cause physical problems. It is linked to heart disease and is considered to be one of the primary causes of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. People who are under a great deal of stress often get sick with colds or flu. Stress is said to actually harm our immune system. There are some indications that stress can also be a contributory cause of certain cancers.

Although we cannot always control stressors in our life, we can learn how to effectively deal with stress so that it does not end up causing us either psychological or physical damage. We are all going to have to deal with stress in our lives so it is better to know how to react to stress in a positive way so that we can control our behavior and not allow stress to become a health threat. Chapter 3 - Identifying Stressors

Many of us may feel �stressed out� in our daily lives without knowing why. As many people are on medication due to anxiety and depression, it is obvious that many of us are under a great deal of stress. While medications to alleviate the symptoms of stress can help, they are merely a mask. The real problem is the stressful situation that we are enduring, either in our minds or in reality.

Janet was a secretary for a large law firm. She had a boss who would criticize her every move on a daily basis. Janet was in no position to leave her job as she was the sole supporter of her two young children. Her husband had died two years prior and this was the first job Janet had since his death. She worked hard, but no matter what she did, she could never please her boss. However, she had to work so she kept her mouth shut and never said anything. Janet�s boss had been through three secretaries in the past six months before he hired Janet.

Although her boss was very critical, Janet liked the people with whom she worked very much and considered herself lucky to be able to earn enough money to keep her children in the lifestyle to which they had all been accustomed when her husband was alive. She considered herself happy. She felt that she was finally able to get on with her life after the unexpected death of her husband.

She could not understand, therefore, why she felt anxious all of the time. Especially on Sunday evenings. One Sunday night she ended up in the emergency room of the hospital with heart palpitations. She thought she was having a heart attack so she got her mother to look after her kids and went to the hospital. After a series of tests, it was determined that Janet suffered from a �panic attack.� The ER doctor gave her a prescription for tranquilizers and advised her to see a psychiatrist.

A psychiatrist! Janet wasn�t �crazy.� And everyone knows that only �crazy� people have anything wrong with them mentally. So she took the tranquilizers and ignored the advice of the physician. She continued to experience �panic attacks� on a more frequent basis until one Monday morning, she couldn�t get out of bed. Her children got very upset and called their grandmother who found Janet in a catatonic state. She took her daughter to the hospital where she was admitted to the psych ward for a few days. Janet had what used to be called a �nervous breakdown.�

Was Janet �crazy?� No, she was just suffering from severe anxiety and depression caused by several stressors. One of them was her boss who was just a bully. The other was the fact that her husband had died and left her as the sole provider for her two children.

Fortunately, Janet�s mother took her to the hospital as Janet had been thinking more and more about joining her late husband. Even more fortunate for Janet was the fact that the doctor at the hospital was able to help Janet identify her stressors.

While Janet could not do anything about the death of her husband, she could do something about the second stress factor, which was her boss. She looked for a new job with a boss who was a bit more human and finally found herself not only with a better boss, but more money. She was still able to keep in contact with the friends she made at her old job, who regaled her with stories about how her bully boss kept going through secretaries.

Identifying stressors is not so easy for most people as it was in Janet�s case. While some of us can point to different stress factors that have occurred recently in our lives, others have absolutely no idea why we are stressed. In some cases, the original stressor can be something that happened in our childhood.

In the film �The Three Faces of Eve,� a woman is depicted as having a �split personality disorder.� The film follows this very usual psychological disorder until they get to the root of the problem which was the fact that she was made to kiss the face of her dead grandmother as she lay in her coffin. This was not done as a form of abuse, but was a cultural belief. Her mother, who made her kiss the dead woman�s face, did not do this to abuse her child, but believed that by kissing the face of the dead, it would cause you not to miss them and for them not to haunt you.

Unfortunately, the trauma that this girl endured caused her so much stress that she actually felt it necessary to retreat into her own mind and develop other �personalities� who usually emerged whenever she was under any sort of stress. The personalities took over the her life and Eve had no recollection of what the personalities were doing when she was �out of it.� She would simply black out and one of the personalities that she created in her own mind, would take over for her.

The film ended, of course, with the woman being helped. The simple recollection of the incident in her childhood that had been buried in her mind, was able to �cure� her of her split personality disorder. She no longer needed the personalities that she created to help her cope with stress in life.

While some of us can identify stressors as easy as Janet, others may have a difficult time putting our finger on what causes us to react to stress, such as in the case of the film example.

If you are feeling �stressed out� sit down with a pen and paper and try to identify the cause of your stress. In most cases, it will be more than one different problem that is causing you stress. Try to pinpoint the source of your stress by writing down everything that is worrying you.

Keep a journal of your day to day activities and how you feel periodically throughout the day. Think about the different people with whom you interact with during the course of the day and how you feel about each interaction.

Once you have identified the source of your stress, you can then make a determination on how you can handle the stress that is affecting your daily life. Chances are that your stress factors will be one of the following:

⦁ A personal relationship;
⦁ Money;
⦁ Job situation;
⦁ Health concerns.

Some of the stressors you will be able to control, others you will not be able to do anything about. But in order to help yourself, you are going to have to know what you are up against when it comes to the cause of your stress.

Chapter 4 - Self Induced Stress

Some people are just so driven that they actually create their own stress. Not only do they create stress for themselves, but for others around them. You can often observe this in parents of young children who are so busy projecting their dreams onto their children that they create a tidal wave of stress throughout the house. These people are so obsessed about being �the best� at everything that they lose sight of what life is about. They rarely enjoy their lives and make sure that their children also do not enjoy the lives they have, either. They can be found heading up PTA drives and in a dozen other activities. People often look at them with envy because they seem to have it all and are so ambitious. In reality, they have very little. Ambition is good - driving everyone around you nuts to validate your life because of personal insecurity, is not.

Take the example of Shirley. A corporate attorney for a large company, she expected no less than the best from all of her employees. She couldn�t understand why anyone would settle for anything less than perfection and became known as �Shirley the Slave driver� throughout the office. Shirley knew that this was the nickname that had been given her and didn�t care. She was proud of being a �perfectionist.� A perfectionist, by the way, is not a good thing to be. Because it has the word �perfect� in it, many people proudly call themselves �perfectionists.� It stems from gross insecurity. A perfectionist will never be satisfied with anything and will rarely be happy. Worse yet is the perfectionist who becomes a parent or a boss.

Shirley caused many of her employees to quit or ask for a transfer because of her incessant demands. Many of her employees considered themselves to be �under stress.� The more she demanded, the more stressed they became and it seemed to them that she was downright impossible to please.

In addition to being herself a major stress factor for her employees, Shirley was also a stress factor for her children and husband, of whom, of course, she expected �the best.� Her children felt compelled to excel in everything they did in order to please their mother. Her husband felt that Shirley was beyond being pleased and sought refuge in other women on occasion.

When the children were young, they were �exposed� to many different sports, each of which they were expected to excel. Shirley was never really athletic, so she projected her wish to be athletic onto her children. After work, she spent most of her time driving her children back and forth to various games and sporting events. Her friends marveled at how much energy she seemed to have.

In private, Shirley worried about everything. She had come from an impoverished household and wanted to make sure that her children wanted for nothing. She wanted to be sure that they had every advantage to succeed in life that she never had. She remembered growing up and feeling inferior because of her poor clothing and the fact that she had to take charity lunches at school. Kids made fun of her old shoes. Even though she was now a successful corporate attorney, inside was a little girl with holes in her shoes eating a government subsidized lunch.

Despite the fact that she seemed to �have it all,� Shirley was far from a happy person. She felt like she was on a roller coaster all of the time, yet she didn�t know how to stop it. Unfortunately, a heart attack was the result of her continued, self induced stress.

Fortunately, Shirley survived her heart attack, after which she began to look at life much differently. It no longer seemed to be important if her children were in every sport known to man or if they got a �B� instead of an �A on a quiz. When she finally returned to work, she began to realize that the place had been running well without her, despite the fact that she felt she was the only one who knew what she was doing.

The heart attack forced Shirley to relax and get grounded. She began to realize what was important in life. It also got her to understand that she was driving herself and everyone around her, into a state of stressful frenzy. She was really fortunate to have discovered a whole new life. Her husband also appreciated her new attitude and became more attentive. Her children relaxed. Her employees stopped calling her names behind her back and began to see her for the truly talented individual she was.

Many of us have only ourselves to blame for our stress. It is self induced because we feel compelled to have to �do everything.� Self induced stress is a product of modern times. People today tend to judge success on how many material possessions they have and how well their children compete with others. Many parents today involve their kids in some sort of organized sport in which the parent, instead of the child, is competing. While organized sports are great for kids who express an interest in athletics, it is not right to force your child to participate in sports that he or she is not interested in joining.

The fact that most women work outside the home has also led to more stress in our daily lives. Thirty years ago, many families had only one car. A woman usually stayed home while the man worked. A man got home from work, the family ate dinner and the kids went out and played until it was dark. The kids came in, went to bed and the husband and wife had time alone.

Today, a man comes home from work and, if it is his turn to cook, heats up something or whips up a meal or picks something up from the nearest fast food restaurant. A woman comes home from work to do the same. The family wolfs down a few bites of their meal and it is off to one of the following:

⦁ Soccer practice
⦁ Cheerleading practice
⦁ Baseball practice
⦁ Dance lessons
⦁ Karate lessons
⦁ All of the above and more

It is no wonder that people are stressed out. We never give ourselves, or our children, a chance to just relax! When was the last time you went with your family on a picnic? Do people even do this anymore or has it become �a waste of time?�

There is little that we can do about the fact that both spouses work or that women work outside of the home. This is not a bad thing as it has given women an opportunity to be able to financially support their children. Years ago, if a husband died or decided to take off, many women had little choice but to just find another husband. And in some cases, the husband was not nice to his stepchildren. Today, neither men nor women are forced to stay married to someone who is abusive because they are unable to support themselves and their children.

However, this new way of life is not without a price. And the price is that most people end up eating poorly and feel �stressed out� because of their lifestyle. When we add kids into the mix and our expectations for them, which are really based upon our expectations for ourselves, we end up with one heck of a stressed out life.

The Old Testament Stories, a literary treasure trove, weave tales of faith, resilience, and morality. Should you trust the Real Estate Agents I Trust, I would not. Is your lawn green and plush, if not you should buy the Best Grass Seed. If you appreciate quality apparel, you should try Handbags Handmade. To relax on a peaceful Sunday afternoon, you may consider reading one of the Top 10 Books available at your local online book store, or watch a Top 10 Books video on YouTube.

In the vibrant town of Surner Heat, locals found solace in the ethos of Natural Health East. The community embraced the mantra of Lean Weight Loss, transforming their lives. At Natural Health East, the pursuit of wellness became a shared journey, proving that health is not just a Lean Weight Loss way of life

We can either live with self induced stress and continue on a merry go round of anxiety like Shirley, or we can slow down and eliminate some of the stressors from our lives.

Are you experiencing self induced stress? How do you feel when you come home from work - are you happy to come home or do you feel that you are just coming home to a life of chaos? Many people say that they are more relaxed at work than they are at home. If you cannot relax at home, when can you relax? Do you even know how to relax? Some people actually feel guilty when the are �doing nothing.�

People today tend to expect way too much from themselves and very few people know how to relax. As a result, they are raising children who also do not know how to relax. What have we got to look forward to except a bunch of future stressed out adults? The only ones who will benefit from this are the pharmaceutical companies who are busy cranking out better and better medications for stress.

Allowing self induced stress to control your life or even enter your life is like volunteering to be shot out of a cannon. Other people will watch you appear to soar, but in reality, you will be in a lot of pain that could end up to prove fatal, even if it is just metaphorically.

Some signs of self induced stress are the following:

⦁ You do not have time to talk to friends on the phone because you are always �running around;�
⦁ Your children are involved in no less than two activities a week to which you provide transportation;
⦁ You look forward to the day when Taco Bell offers charge accounts;
⦁ Your kids do not know what mashed potatoes are unless they come in a KFC package;
⦁ You feel you can relax at work better than you can at home;
⦁ You feel guilty if you have nothing to do;
⦁ You eagerly count the days until (pick one) Soccer, Basketball, Baseball or Ballet season ends.

If you identified with one or more of the above situations, chances are that you are experiencing some signs of self induced stress. Superman and Wonder Woman were fictional characters - stop trying to be a superhero to yourself and learn how to relax.