Stress is part of our lifestyle. It is highly recommended that everyone have a daily stress management program. A few years ago my wife was treated for cancer with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. I developed shingles during the mid-point of her chemotherapy. It is an inflammation of the nerve ganglia. It is usually manifested by eruptions on the skin.
I had not been doing my weekly swimming pool maintenance during the summer of my wife’s chemotherapy. The algae in the pool grew out of control. I spent a couple of hours, unprotected from the sun, working around the pool. I thought the outdoors, fresh air and sunshine would do me a world of good. I had been stressed with the caregiver role, and had not been exercising, nor had I been eating properly. I came down with a rash that would not go away.
I went to the doctor. His initial assessment was that it looked like a “classic case of shingles”. I reflected for a few minutes about what had been going on in my life, and concluded rapidly, that it was brought on by the abuse of my lifestyle. The issues that popped into my mind were:
● Chickenpox as a child
● Too much-unprotected exposure to the sun
● Untreated stress
● No exercise
● Poor eating habits
I took the medicine that that doctor prescribed and within a few days the shingles rash vanished. I have been vigilant to maintain a healthy lifestyle since.
Stress can do damage to the body – all the way from the cellular level to your brain. Continual high-stress levels are a good predictor of neurological problems to come. Excessive stress leads to cognitive dysfunction.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an illness (some people believe it is not an illness, but I do). PTSD is associated with chronic stress and anxiety related to a traumatic event(s). There is a link between total brain volume and the length of time a person has PTSD. Testing has shown that this type of brain shrinkage can be reversed.
Whether you exercise daily or eat properly, one thing that costs nothing and takes very little time is to manage your stress. Do it more than a couple of times daily. Do it at traffic lights, when traffic comes to a standstill, or when you go to the bathroom. It doesn’t take a lot of effort.
I tell people to simply smile when they feel or see something stressful. The smile is usually something that can counter the immediate stressor. Smiles cost nothing and take literally no time out of your busy life. It will make a difference in your life.