Sometimes we know the causes of physical and mental ailments, but sometimes there can be a number of life events, however large or small, that accumulate and compound upon each other to create stress. The word “stress” is usually associated with work responsibilities and is often taken too lightly. Stress isn’t just being tired! Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. Believe it or not, stress can cause fear, anxiety, panic, depression, sadness, fatigue, sleep problems, headaches, muscle tension, weight loss or gain, and mental confusion, as well as diabetes, heart disease, digestive problems and many psychosomatic illnesses!
So what creates this monster called stress that can have such an impact on our physical and mental health? In 1967, Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe created a stress rating system called The Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS) that is still widely used today. They named 43 major events in our everyday lives that are stress-creating culprits. Included in the list are the death of a loved one, divorce, marriage, a change in residence, a change in jobs, major injury or illness, a major change in financial state, a new loan or foreclosure of a loan, the beginning or ending of formal schooling, and increased arguments with or separation from a significant other. However, stressors are not necessarily things with a negative connotation. Also on the list are retirement, holidays, a job promotion, pregnancy and vacation!
Outside of the obvious major stressors, the smaller things can build up and cause stress as well. Tax time this month will have millions of Americans stressed as they pore through mounds of financial documents. A child struggling with math in school or being bullied; a perpetually leaking faucet driving up the water bill and plumbing repairs; poor customer service when you call about a discrepancy in your phone or cable bill; a distant relative wanting to move into your area and stay with you temporarily: All of these things in our daily lives add to the building pressure of responsibility that can cause chronic stress. Left untreated, stress will eventually drain you of your energy, motivation, and physical and emotional health.
Home remedy stress relievers like reading, taking a bath, exercise, recreation, or listening to music can do a great deal to relax the body and clear the mind. It’s important to make the time for yourself to de-stress daily so that tension does not build. Stress is not to be underestimated as a cause of depression, anxiety disorder, heart disease, or other physical and emotional ailments that require much more intensive therapy and treatment than home remedies.