As we reach the crest of the summer, I find myself looking at the clock wondering where the hours of my day went and realizing that I still have so much left to do. The stress of life continues even throughout times that are seemingly stress-free like summertime.

It made me look at stress and why it’s such a predominant thing in our daily lives.

There is such a thing as healthy stress, those aspects that have helped to keep us alive, alert and aware of incoming danger and enemies. Our present day lives still necessitate levels of healthy stress to help motivate us to get things done, strive for our goals and overall keep us healthy and moving in a given direction.

There is, as with many things, a spectrum of stress levels and while not having any stress in your life can actually lead to boredom, lack of direction and a longing for stimulation, too much stress, as most of us are familiar with, brings on many mental and physical imbalances within the body.

Many of us live our lives burning the candle at both ends. We multitask, we over-schedule, overwork, overplay, overstimulate and basically induce self-exhaustion with regularity. This new way of life seems to bring us further from the overall intelligent and advanced existence we have created. It instead has induced new health problems that stem from our own unbalanced lifestyles.

Many modern day illnesses, such as adrenal fatigue, autoimmune conditions, thyroid imbalances, digestive issues, sleeping problems and even headaches, can all be traced back to the body experiencing high levels of stress. The reason some of us are affected one way, while those around us present in other ways, stems from the fact that we all handle stress differently from one another.

Since we are all unique in the way our bodies handle stress, its effect on the body can be brought into a state of mind over matter, especially when we recognize what basic human needs are being neglected and how we can bring them back into our lives. Here are three very basic categories of existence that we all need in order to live happy lives.

Basic needs: sun, air, food, water, rest.

These are fairly self explanatory, although we often go long periods of time without giving them enough attention. Making sure that we breathe deeply, eat well-rounded and regular meals, drink at least half our body weight in ounces of water and get consecutive hours of restful sleep all help us live the lives we want to have. Putting energy back into these basic needs really does make a huge difference in any health condition we may be experiencing.

Mental needs: creativity, laughter, self-worth, financial stability, service to a community, mindfulness, spirituality.

We are mental beings. We need to be mentally challenged and stimulated. We also need to be able to create new ways of seeing things. We need laughter and joy as well as self-worth to know that life is still worth getting up for in the morning. We all need some level of financial stability so that we don’t worry ourselves into a mental tizzy. We need to have a sense of purpose and place within the community we live in and some form of spirituality that keeps us mindful of our own morality.

Physical needs: Play, intimacy, exercise.

Lastly, we are physical creatures, therefore we must be able to move! Setting aside time to be physical is important, but we also need to integrate elements of play, without expectations of specific outcomes. And as social beings, we all need to be able to share moments of truth with other beings, showing our true selves and being comfortable in our own shoes.

So the next time you feel your blood pressure rising, your patience dwindling and your health decreasing, consider which category you might be neglecting and see what you can do to help replenish yourself. Keep stress from being something that brings you down and instead, something that gently stimulates you to go toward your goals.

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