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How to Cope With Stress and Anxiety

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Among the hardest parts of living in the modern world is stress and anxiety.  With worries about work, the environment, the economy, natural disasters, terrorism, and the general state of the world, it seems that there is no end to the number of things to worry about.  Though we cannot control many of these things, they still weigh on our minds and cause us stress and anxiety.  However, despite these concerns, we should try to avoid stress and anxiety.

Stress and anxiety are, at their hearts, mental problems. They are conditions in which the mind is racing and constantly circling around certain concerns.  The concerns may be seemingly mundane, but the concerns keep recurring until they push out all the other thoughts in the brain and create their own towering mass of worry.  And this tower is, in itself self-propagating simply because stress and anxiety tend to create themselves because stress and anxiety cause the mind to condition itself to stress and anxiety.

There is research to suggest that the mind gets used to stress and anxiety and, once it is conditioned, it will quickly return to stress and anxiety.  In fact, there is some evidence that shows that stress conditioning may actually begin when we are too young to do anything about it.  Children who face a great deal of stress will find their minds altered such that they will quickly return to a state of stress at the slightest provocation.  It is almost as though the mind misses the state of stress and anxiety and wants to return to it once it has found the state.

Unfortunately, this creates serious problems not only for the mind, but also the body.  Stress and anxiety put a great many demands on the human body.  It causes headaches, high blood pressure, ulcers, sleep problems, immune system deficiencies and can even swell the joints, which can cause severe problems with conditions such as arthritis.  As well, stress and anxiety can result in depression, memory problems, and even alcohol and drug abuse for those who suffer from stress and anxiety regularly.  Thus, stress and anxiety are not merely problems of the mind, but they are problems of the mind that can cause problems in the body. The mind does, in surprising ways, control the body.  And a mind that is overly taxed can lead to a body that is overly taxed.

Thus, you must understand that you can also control your mind.  Stress and anxiety do not need to take over your mind.  In fact, you can control how your mind responds to the problems that arise in life.

Remember that you can decide not to be stressed.  You do not have to be anxious.  You can change your mind and let things slide away.  Yes, there are many things in this world to worry about.  However, worrying about them will not change many aspects of the modern world.  Constantly thinking about work, the environment, the economy, or politics will not change them.  Instead, resolve to change things that you can change and do not worry about what you cannot control.

The thing to keep in mind is a sense of perspective.  Yes, work is stressful, but do you need to worry about being attacked by a lion when you leave the office?  When you go shopping for groceries, do you need to think about whether there will be a pack of marauding barbarians in the produce section?  Hopefully, the answer is, "No."  Thus, you do not have the same concerns as our forebears and you should keep that in mind.  Life is pretty safe these days and the so-called "Age of Stress" is entirely of our own creation. We are stressed about things that we decide to be stressed about.  And the things that we are stressed about really aren't that important in the long-run scheme of things.

Stress and anxiety are, seemingly, enough to worry about on their own.  So don't fall into the trap of keeping them going.  Keep life in perspective, keep yourself on an even keel and remember that you can control your own mind.  If you can manage to do that, stress and anxiety to not need to take over your life.


By Trevor Dumbleton
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