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Recently a friend , Ivan, who is a Psychoanalyst recently

told me that: "60% - 90% of visits to primary care physicians were stress related."

What is stress? Stress is when your bodyís response to mental or emotional pressure. Some stress
may be good for you. It can help make one perform better to overcome stagnation. Stress becomes a problem when we are not able to able to manage and then it poses a problem. When we have too
much stress it can overwhelm us it; can damage relationships and our self concept and in the end our mental/physical health.

Stress seems to be an increasing problem in to-days world: too many of my young people seem to find their lives very stressful. Finding ways to deal with stress on a daily basis is doable if you know the signs and how to then deal with them. Finding ways to avoid being stressed before it dominates our thoughts and being are the keys to success.

So how do we let stress effect us? How do we learn to manage stressful situations? What happens to
our bodies when we are stressed?

The effects of stress on our bodies are immense. It can affect our immune system making us more susceptible to frequent infections like unto the common cold/ flu and even Cancer. Stress can effect our muscles. They tend to tense up when we are stressed. With taunt muscles tension-type headaches are very common. The heart beats faster when we are stressed that can trigger panic attacks. Continued high levels of stress effects can lead to high blood pressure and other important organs of the body.

Letís look at positive ways to deal with stress. Oneís attitude is important. We can turn our thinking around when we choose to be happy. My granddaughter, Mushie who is my eight years old granddaughter taught me "that she and I do not have to be perfect, do we?". The goal to perfection is
not feasible and takes a heavy toll on our daily lives. We have to learn to celebrate our good fortune seeing the glass of water as half full and not half empty. Prioritizing our needs and not our wants helps
us live a simpler uncomplicated life.

I find it interesting that many of the women I council can be designated with the letter "P". They are too often perfectionists who have learned to be procrastinators having to admit that they can not be perfect all of the time.

A good nights sleep seems to be absent in many of young peoples lives. Too much stress can make us anxious, tense and can then cause sleep deprivation. When you are tired, less patient and more easily agitated which in turn leads to increased stress. An adequate amount of sleep is crucial for good health . Adults need 7-9 hours of untroubled sleep per night.

Time management in to-days busy world is very precious .Not managing our time and dwelling on those things you can not change is counter productive to a happy, fulling productive-work life balance.

When I want to try and change the world I often reflect on the "Serenity Prayer": "God grant us the serenity to accept the things we can not change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

I have learned from the Mayo Clinic that we have choices when we are faced with stress. We can take pills which does seem not to help in the long run. We can go for counselling which is therapeutic to be able to learn to deal with our stress, but in the end. physical fitness on a daily basis along with counselling for most stressed out people seems to be the best fit to help us with our problems.

Taking a walk with the dog, jogging for fun in the morning before work seems to set us up to take on the tasks of the day. I am in the Y pool every week-day morning with an Aquafit Belt tied to my waist jogging in the pool. If you do not to seem to have the time the pool opens at 5.15 a.m It is filled with swimmers, chatters splashing their way to a day of calmness. A nice warm decadent shower , sauna, hot tub to lay back and let all of the stresses disappear for a few precious minutes is precious.

I will end my column with a story of "Mrs Brown" who goes to her doctor telling him that she has found a simple cure for her stress. She snaps her fingers to keep away all of the lions and tigers away from her
in Dorchester, Ontario. The doctor tried in vain to explain that there are no lions or tigers to worry about
in the village. Mrs Brown smiled and told the doctor: "you see it works."

Believing that you can be happy is often the simple cure to most of our ills that beset us on a daily basis.

Len Lesser is an education/career counsellor in Dorchester. lenlesser@hotmail.com

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com