Most people understand that stress has a negative impact in their lives. A lot of us make a great attempt at ignoring negative consequences (even though we know better) and claim to “thrive” on stress. We might even claim that we don’t have a lot of stress or that it doesn’t affect us.

It may seem like stress doesn’t affect us or that we even have much of it in our lives, but that could be because it’s so persistent in our daily lives that we hardly even notice it’s there anymore. It’s not until we take a good vacation (even a three day weekend away from work) that we realize how much stress we are under on a daily basis.

More people than ever are working from home and when that happens the natural barrier between home life and work life becomes thin to the point of transparency. “Leaving work at the office” has little meaning when the “office” is the computer in the living room, or maybe the dining room table.

The pressure to make ends meet financially while maintaining something resembling a family life, and doing it all within the same living/workign space, is an entirely new kind of stress for most people that formerly only shopkeepers who lived above their store have had to deal with.

These are some of the modern sources of stress. What affect does it really have?

Especially in the scenario above, the stress can manifest itself in social situation by “snapping” at family members, having a short temper, and generally not being a pleasant person to spend time with.

On a biological level, the stress response, especially chronic stress – the kind we don’t seem to notice as much – has long term consequences such as the inability to lose weight, headaches, body aches, muscle aches, and getting sick more often.

One of the best ways to relieve chronic stress that is caused by work, extended family, or other social situations is just to get away for a while. Have a friend or relative take the kids for a night or two and go to the next town and rent a room in a nice hotel.

Get a massage.

Go out for a nice dinner.

Watch TV, go to a movie, see a play, or do something else that you enjoy that you don’t normally get to do.

Even just a night or two away can make a world of difference in your outlook and help you realize how much stress you are actually under on daily basis. This might even be a catalyst to help you discover ways to decrease that stress level.

Of course, the benefits of this kind of short term stress relief are also only short term. For longer term stress relief, try eating a healthier diet (which can be difficult to do under stress), exercise on a regular basis, assign work and home tasks to others where possible and take on fewer tasks where possible.

The benefits will be many.

Those extra pounds might come off a little easier. You’ll be in a better mood, which will cause people to react differently to you. You’ll also start to get the physiological benefits.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have the confidence in your immune system to know that you wouldn’t come down with every bug that happens to be going around?

Having a stronger immune system can also get rid of low level illness that you may have in your system and not even realize it. What if there are cells in your body that are pre-cancerous and a strong immune system would kill them off before you even knew they were there? Coversely, is your weakened immune system allowing these kinds of cells to stay around and maybe even begin to multiply?

Take a check on yourself and your stress levels. Take care of yourself and enjoy life!