A Postscript on Stress

Health & Beauty

7

I was well into writing my article for the June issue of “Be Well” when I read Ben Mc Campbell’s excellent one on stress in the May magazine. Certainly, all of us live with almost constant stress in our daily lives. There are economic pressures, deadlines to meet, appointments to keep, families to manage, and jobs that are difficult. Within our inner circle, there are illnesses, accidents, and deaths. From the larger realm of our community and our world, we are barraged with reports of tragedy, of war, of starvation, and of brutality. It is no wonder that we can become overwhelmed with anxiety. We must make the choice of whether we allow the sense of despair and helplessness to dominate our thoughts and actions or whether we make a concentrated effort to redirect our thinking. This is not an easy task but is worth the effort.

As we encounter all the numerous minor stressors in our daily lives, we must develop positive ways to deal with them or become old in body and in spirit.

Because the heading for my monthly article is” Health and Beauty,” I thought it would be appropriate to devote a few words to one important fact mentioned by Ben. Besides all the life threating results of stress in our lives, he reminds the reader that stress also makes an individual look older.  Think of all your friends and relatives, and very probably yourself, who have endured anxious stressful times. During that period we generally look terrible.  Our posture may become stooped or rigid, our faces are drawn and pale, and our mouths seem compressed as there is neither energy nor inclination to smile or laugh. There is a tense harshness to our persona. Our eyes, often referred to as “the windows to our souls” appear dull and lifeless or, during moments of intense anguish, wildly dilated.

Certainly, during moments of intense anguish, very few of us can avoid losing control and giving way to a visceral response; however, as we encounter all the numerous minor stressors our daily lives, we must develop positive ways to deal with them or become old in body and in spirit. These coping skills work best in combination.  Besides exercise, meditation, a healthy diet, a social life, and rest, a positive outlook is a must. To live a full rich life we learn, count our blessings and see the beauty and joy within each day. And remember to smile; a smile is an instant facelift. I welcome your questions and comments.

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