Stress and Happiness: Can Stress Reduction Help You Live a Happier, Healthier and Longer Life?

“The decision to be positive is not one that disregards or belittles the sadness that exists. It is rather a conscious choice to focus on the good and to cultivate happiness–genuine happiness. Happiness is not a limited resource. And when we devote our energy and time to trivial matters, and choose to stress over things that ultimately are insignificant. From that point, we perpetuate our own sadness, and we lose sight of the things that really make us happy and rationalize our way out of doing amazing things.”  ~Christopher Aiff

Are you feeling stressed out and unhappy? You’re not alone. There are millions of people dealing with constant stress. This can affect your health and happiness. This can even affect how long you live.

Stress and Happiness: Can Stress Reduction Help You Live a Happier, Healthier and Longer Life?

Chronic stress can deplete your energy. When your emotional and physical energy are depleted, it’s just too hard to enjoy simple pleasures and be happy. Chronic stress can make you sick. It can increase your risk for hypertension, heart disease and other diseases. Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlee43

 

In today’s society, people are just inundated with overwhelming stress.

We are constantly over-worked, sleep-deprived, under-nourished, budget-challenged and time-starved. Not surprisingly, some of us end up over-eating or over-indulging in unhealthy habits. Others end up dealing with self-destructive habits, including smoking, alcohol or substance abuse.

We are stressed out over our relationship problems, money worries, weight issues, family conflicts, unemployment or demanding jobs, self-destructive habits and guilt for giving our loved ones too little quality time.

Chronic stress can bring out the worst in us. When we are overwhelmed with stress, we’re anxious, irritable, frustrated and impatient. We are often cranky and ready to bite someone’s head off.

There are individual differences in how people respond to stressful situations. For most people, the effects of chronic stress can be toxic.

Chronic stress can deplete your energy and health. Without relief of the underlying causes of stress, the stress-related symptoms can worsen over time — and this can eventually result in devastating diseases.

Chronic stress can make you sick — it can even kill you. As people get more and more stressed out, they can end up having decreased immunity, excess abdominal fat, poor concentration and memory. Chronic stress can increase your risk for hypertension, heart disease and other diseases.

Chronic stress can rob you of the ability to live life to the fullest — it is one of the biggest obstacles to finding happiness.

How do you deal with chronic stress? How do you find happiness in such a stressful world?

Unfortunately, you can’t avoid stress — it’s part of life. But, you can learn to manage it. By using effective stress management techniques, you can prevent the damaging effects of stress to your body and to your life.

Of course, there’s more to happiness than just reduction of stress. You can be stress-free and still be unhappy. But without reducing your stress, it can be a lot harder to be happy.

Why?

Stress can deplete your energy. When your emotional and physical energy are depleted, it’s just too hard to even enjoy simple pleasures. Most people who are stressed out just do not have the energy to find their bliss.

Fortunately, one of the best ways to relieve your stress is to bring more happiness in your life. There are many things that can boost your happiness and relieve stress, such as bonding with your loved ones, expressing creativity, helping needy people in the community, playing with your children or even just talking to supportive family and friends.

Dr. Michael Frisch, a Baylor University professor and pioneer in the new field of Positive Psychology, has found 16 different areas of life that contribute to a person’s happiness: health, self-esteem, goals and values, money, work, play, learning, creativity, helping, love, friends, children, relatives, home, neighborhood and community. According to Dr. Frisch, measuring satisfaction in these areas can help measure a person’s overall level of happiness and life satisfaction.

When you’re overwhelmed with stress, your focus is usually just on decompressing and relieving your stress.  However, following a stress management strategy that incorporates activities that can boost your happiness can magnify the benefits for your health. By developing and practicing stress-relieving and happiness-boosting habits, you can lower your stress as well as increase your satisfaction and happiness in life.

Reducing your stress and boosting your happiness not only can affect how well you live, but it can also affect how long you live.

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