Risk Services Of Arkansas - April 2020

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Manufacturing TIME TO WALK OUT ON STRESS Combating the Silent Killer April 2020 Staffing Transportation Health Care Energy Construction Financial

A pril is National Stress Awareness Month. It’s no surprise we have a whole month dedicated to raising awareness about it — everybody deals with stress. A recent Gallup poll found that 55% of Americans report feeling stressed every day, which is 20% higher than the average in the rest of the world! The trouble is that because stress is so common, we often mistake it for being “normal.” However, stress creates a whole host of health problems. Many experts believe stress is actually the source of a lot of issues we mistakenly diagnose as something else. Stress manifests itself in many different ways and affects everyone differently. Some people are impacted by emotional symptoms, like worry, restlessness, or irritability. Other people suffer from physical symptoms, like headaches, digestive issues, and muscle tension. Stress has been called the silent killer and has been linked to six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide. While good stress can help motivate us, chronic stress is a very unhealthy situation. As I was thinking about the negative implications of stress, I’m grateful I don’t often feel too stressed out. That’s not to say I don’t have stressful things in my life, but I really try not to internalize them. There are a few reasons. First, I credit my faith. I believe in God; I believe God is sovereign, that He has a plan, and His plan is best for me. Things are ultimately going to work out the way He intends them to, so I have no reason to stress even though events often don’t go the way I want them to. When I do feel stress creeping in, I generally turn to the healthy habits I’ve tried to develop in my life. I try to exercise once a day. When I have the time, I also like to ride my motorcycle or play golf. I’m grateful it’s spring again because I don’t play golf or ride my motorcycle when the weather is bad. Fortunately, since stress isn’t reserved for nice weather days only, I can always go to the gym to run on the treadmill or to do some resistance training.

Exercise is really a great way to combat stress. It really clears the mind. My wife’s go-to stress relief is power walking, which she does on a regular basis on the trails in our neighborhood. Something else we like to do together is hiking. We love to take walks on the trails here around Little Rock, and Arkansas has some really great hiking trails throughout the state. Taking a walk in nature is probably one of the best forms of stress relief. When you’re in nature, you get to appreciate all the absolute beauty of God’s creation: the flowers, the birds, the trees, and how we fit into this whole system. It’s very meditative and helps me put things in perspective. When I see a tree that’s hundreds of years old and will likely grow for hundreds more, it really puts life in perspective for me. Nature is so big, and there’s so much going on. A lot of times, we get our priorities upside down, and that causes stress. When we get a little perspective and put our priorities in the right order, it’s like a pressure-release valve that lets out the bad stress. With a little perspective, we realize our problems aren’t as impossible as they might seem. No matter how bad things appear today, things can always get better tomorrow. If stress has been getting you down, I recommend getting more exercise. Even just taking a walk outside in nature can help relieve that stress. If you don’t find stress relief outside in nature, there’s always the gym!

“Taking a walk in nature is probably one of the best forms of stress relief. When you’re in nature, you get to appreciate all the absolute beauty of God’s creation.”

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