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Life in modern times is full of demands, hassles, so many deadlines to beat and meetings to attend. This has made stress common place for a lot of folks. With the activity – packed schedules, your muscles tighten, the heart beats faster, blood pressure increases, senses sharpen and your body is thrown into an almost constant emergency mode. The physical and mental response of the body to these demands placed on it is what is referred to as stress. Not all stress is bad. However your ability to tolerate stress depends on a number of factors including the quality of your relationship your general perception of life, emotional intelligence, genetics, your support network (friends and family) and your level of preparation. We each function and feel best at our own optimal levels of physiological arousal. Thus, stress in minimal doses can motivate you and help you perform under pressure. The physical changes that accompany stress, when handled properly can strengthen you, increase your reaction time as well as your stamina and sharpen your focus. There further keep you energetic and alert. Negative stress on the other hand begins when your ability to cope with life’s demands begins to crumble. Motivation and excitement gradually turn to anxiety, irritability or panic. Challenges appear threatening and insurmountable and you begin to feel like you’ve reached the end of your rope. The funny thing is how this level of stress sneaks in upon you without any warning or notice. It affects you physically, emotionally and mentally. Physically, you begin to experience headaches, high blood pressure, dizziness and even insomnia. Breathing becomes faster and less efficient which can further lead to hyperventilation. Blood flow to the skin can also be affected there by causing sweating, clammy hands and feet. Stress emotionally can cause unnecessary irritation, anger, panic, self doubt, frustration, impatience insecurity, fear, anxiety, depression and emotional withdrawal. These emotional effects can further affect your behavior toward other people and make you less sociable, less caring and increasingly insensitive towards them. Mentally, your thoughts can become confused and all jumbled up, making focus difficult. This further increases your concentration on the problems thus impairing your decision making ability, as well as your skill to find logical solutions to problems on ground. A lot of people respond to stress by indulging in excessive eating, drinking, smoking and risky behaviors. However, there are healthier and more effective ways to combat stress. Taking time out to relax and reduce physical stress sensations is a good way to start. Engage in sports and other physical activities like walking, cycling, jogging, running and so on. Further more take better care of yourself and give yourself some me time, every once in a while. Go for a massage, take hot baths, hangout with friends and family and make sure you eat well. It is also necessary to confront the source(s) of the stress, ask yourself certain questions, and possibly talk to someone about it. Practice effective time management and as much as possible avoid crash programs. All these in place and you are on your way to a “stress free” life.    
About the Author Eru Kobe Godwin is a poet, designer, and a writer at   He is also the CEO at Cypress Concepts: corporate and casual shirt designers and stylists.

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This article was first published on 15th June 2012 and updated on June 20th, 2012 at 2:28 pm

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