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5 Stressors That Can Ruin Your Life

5 Stressors That Can Ruin Your Life peculiarmagazine.com

 

If your job makes you feel like you could blow a valve, you need to find a way to relieve the pressure. A Finnish study found that work-related stress increases your risk of a heart attack by 23 percent. Even more: If you’re stressed at work and other areas of your life, the ripple effects of adverse health effects may be more pronounced.

Of course, you won’t always be able to keep your cool from 9 to 5. But here are five surprising stressors outside the office that could be adding worry to your day. Learn to manage them, and you’ll be better at dealing with stress overall.

1. Living on the East Coast
A survey by the American Psychological Foundation revealed that 26 percent of people living in the eastern part of the U.S. rate their personal stress levels as an 8, 9, or 10 on a 10-point scale—higher than any other part of the country. That might be because so many people relocate to the big east coast cities of Boston, New York, and Washington to start their career“You’re cut off from your usual social support”.

The solution: Take your colleagues out for a drink. Researchers studied 70 traffic cops and found that men with the most work friends also had the lowest heart rates and healthiest blood-pressure levels, even during times of stress.

2. Growing Up in the City
Brain scans of people who grew up in an urban environment—regardless of where they live now—revealed that stressed city natives experience much greater activity in the cingulate cortex (a brain region linked with regulating fear and aggressive behavior) than people with rural backgrounds, according to a German study.

The solution: Head back to nature—even if that means the park next to your office. A Canadian study found that just 17 minutes of strolling in an urban greenspace alongside trees and plants helped people feel more relaxed and positive than walkers who paced indoors.

3. The Economy
It’s not just your own checking account balance that stresses you out. More than six in 10 Americans rate “the economy” as a major source of stress in their lives, after work and money, according to the American Psychological Association.And last year, the UK’s National Health Service reported that the economic recession was responsible for a 47 percent uptick in people seeking medical treatment for stress since 2007.

The solution: Unplug yourself from constant financial updates. You don’t have to shut off your phone or e-mail, but you’ll feel less stress if you scan Twitter and your favorite news sites during times you set for yourself at the beginning and end of the day, instead of checking in at every available moment, Newman says.

4. “Celebrating” Your Birthday
After a certain point—probably shortly after you turn 21—birthdays turn from an annual celebration into a burden. In fact, the stress from the encroaching feeling of death year after year is believed to explain why a Swiss study found that you’re 14 percent more likely to die on your birthday than any other day of the year.

The solution: Have your cake, but dial back the birthday shots. “Men have an increased risk of falling down or committing suicide on their birthday, presumably due to alcohol consumption,” says study author Vladeta Ajdacic-Gross, Ph.D., a research associate at the University of Zurich.

5. The Playoffs
A study reported that on the days that the German national soccer team played during the 2006 World Cup, there were more than three times as many ER visits for heart attacks and strokes in Munich than on a normal day. And a study at the University of Southern California found that after the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Los Angeles Rams in the 1980 Super Bowl, heart attacks spiked in male Angelenos by 15 percent in the following weeks. A victory is less stressful: The study didn’t find the same heart attack connection when the L.A. Raiders beat the Redskins in the 1984 Super Bowl.

The solution: Pick another target. Say you’re a arsenal fan and you just watched the team suffer a bad beating by the Man city. You could chalk up the loss in a couple of ways to make yourself feel better: You can say, hey, your team might have lost, but they still have won championships—how many do the man city have?.  Or, if the man city happen to be a dominant team, shift your attention to a weaker target. Hey, at least we’re still better than the lowly Bobcats. “It’s called social creativity”. “You change who the target is to feel better about your team again.” Another strategy: Remind yourself that the outcome of games doesn’t actually affect your overall happiness. (Unless you’re a betting man, of course—and you already know what we’ll recommend if that’s case.)

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