by Joseph Dabon

It gets heavier the longer you hold it.

"How heavy do you think this is?" a lecturer asked his audience as he held up a glass of water.

Several answers came up, ranging from 20g to 500g.

"The absolute weight doesn't matter," the lecturer answered. "It depends on how long you hold it. If you hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If you hold it for an hour, you will have an ache in your arm. If you hold it for a day, you may need an ambulance. In each case, the weight was the same. But the longer you hold it, the heavier it becomes."

Then he continued, "And that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on."

As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it up again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden.

So before you return home tonight put the burden of work down. Don't carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you are carrying on now, let them down for a moment, if you can."

To get a better idea why stress management is necessary, let's look at what stress is and what harm it can do to you.

What is Stress?

Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.

How common is it?

We all can be stressed any time in a given day. It is so common that it is believed that one-third of Americans are living with extreme stress and nearly half believe that their stress has increased over the past five years, according to the American Psychological Association, (APA).

Occasional stress is acceptable. In fact it is a necessary ingredient of life if only to avoid complacency. By nature, our bodies are hard-wire to handle stress as a means for self-preservation.

But if it occurs with alarming regularity, if we are holding on to that glass of water longer and more often, it becomes chronic stress.

What is Chronic Stress?

Chronic stress is the response to emotional pressure suffered for prolonged periods of time, and which you may perceive to have no control of.

If you are having chronic stress, you are in for a very rough and dangerous ride ahead.

Harmful effects of Chronic Stress

Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your mind and body. If not coped with effectively, it can lead to the following medical conditions:

* Anxiety

* Depression

* Digestive problems

* Sleep problems

* Weight gain

* Memory and concentration impairment.

The above are just the tip of the iceberg. More serious problems can occur if you don't know how to handle your stress effectively. - Mayo Clinic

So learn how to handle that glass of water sparingly. Don't hold it more than you can. The results are very obvious if you do.

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